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A Man of Mark 
Mr Witt's Widow- 
Sport Royal 
A Change of Air 
Half a Hero 
The Prisoner of Zenda 
Father Stafford 















' "+ * CHAPTER II. 









WHOSE SHALL IT BE ? . . . .64 










AGAINST HIS COMING . . . . 1 28 


IT CAN WAIT . . . . . .I4I 



A SPASM OF PENITENCE . . . . • *5 2 


THE THING OR THE MAN . • • . 165 


THE WORK OF A WEEK ..... 177 


THE LAST BARRIERS . . . • . 192 






















T'M so blind,' said Miss Ferrars plaintively. 

X ' Where are my glasses ? ' 

1 What do you want to see ? ' asked 
Lord Semingham. 

' The man in the corner, talking to Mr Lor- 

' Oh, you won't know him even with the 
glasses. He's the sort of man you must be in- 
troduced to three times before there's any chance 
of a permanent impression.' 

1 You seem to recognise him.' 

' I know him in business. We are, or rather 
are going to be, fellow-directors of a company.' 

' Oh, then I shall see you in the dock together 
some day.' 

•What touching faith in the public prosecu- 
tor 1 Does nothing shake your optimism ? ' 



' Perhaps your witticisms.' 

' Peace, peace ! ' 

■ Well, who is he ? * 

' He was once,' observed Lord Semingham, as 
though stating a curious fact, ' in a Government. 
His name is Foster Belford, and he is still asked 
to the State Concerts.' 

' I knew I knew him ! Why, Harry Denni- 
son thinks great things of him ! ' 

' It is possible.' 

• And he, not to be behindhand in politeness, 
thinks greater of Maggie Dennison.' 

' His task is the easier.' 

' And you and he are going to have the effron- 
tery to ask shareholders to trust their money to 

' Oh, it isn't us ; it's Ruston.' 

' Mr Ruston ? I've heard of him.' 

' You very rarely admit that about anybody.' 

• Moreover, I've met him.' 

• He's quite coming to the front, of late, I 

' Is there any positive harm in being in the 
fashion? I like now and then to talk to the 
people one is obliged to talk about' 

' Go on,' said Lord Semingham, urbanely. 

' But, my dear Lord Semingham — ' 

1 Hush ! Keep the truth from me, like a kind 
woman. Ah, here comes Tom Loring. How 
are you, Loring ? Where's Dennison ? ' 

' At the House. I ought to be there too.' 
Why, of course. The place of a private 
secretary is by the side of — ' 


' His chiefs wife. We all know that,' inter- 
posed Adela Ferrars. 

1 When you grow old, you'll be sorry for all 
the wicked things you've said,' observed Loring. 

4 Well, there'll be nothing else to do. Where 
are you going, Lord Semingham ? ' 

1 Home.' 
^ 'Why?' 

'Because I've done my duty. Oh, but here's 
Dennison, and I want a word with him.' 

Lord Semingham passed on, leaving the 
other two together. 

' Has Harry Dennison been speaking to-day ? ' 
asked Miss Ferrars. 

' Well, he had something prepared.' 

' He had something ! You know you write 

Mr Loring frowned. 

' Yes, and I know we aren't allowed to say so,' 
pursued Adela. 

' It's neither just nor kind to Dennison.' 

Miss Ferrars looked at him, her brows slightly 

' And you are both just and kind, really,' he 

' And you, Mr Loring, are a wonderful man. 
You're not ashamed to be serious ! Oh, yes, 
I'm annoyed — you're quite right. I was — what- 
ever I was — on the ninth of last March, and I 
think I'm too old to be lectured.' 

Tom Loring laughed, and an instant later 
Adela followed suit. 

' I suppose it was horrid of me,' she said. 


'Can't we turn it round and consider it as a 
compliment to you ? ' 

Tom looked doubtful, but, before he could 
answer, Adela cried, 

' Oh, here's Evan Haselden, and — yes — it's 
Mr Ruston with him.' 

As the two men entered, Mrs Dennison rose 
from her chair. She was a tall woman ; her 
years fell one or two short of thirty. She was 
not a beauty, but her broad brow and expressive 
features, joined to a certain subdued dignity of 
manner and much grace of movement, made her 
conspicuous among the women in her drawing- 
room. Young Evan Haselden seemed to ap- 
preciate her, for he bowed his glossy curly head 
and shook hands in a way that almost turned 
the greeting into a deferentially distant caress. 
Mrs Dennison acknowledged his hinted homage 
with a bright smile, and turned to Ruston. 

1 At last ! ' she said, with another smile. ' The 
first time after — how many years ? ' 

' Eight, I believe,' he answered. 

1 Oh, you're terribly definite. And what have 
you been doing with yourself?' 

He shrugged his square shoulders, and she 
did not press her question, but let her eyes 
wander over him. 

'Well? 'he asked. 

' Oh — improved. And I ? ' 

Suddenly Ruston laughed. 

' Last time we met,' he said, ' you swore you'd 
never speak to me again.' 

' I'd quite forgotten my fearful threat' 


He looked straight in her face for a moment, 
as he asked — 

' And the cause of it ? 

Mrs Dennison coloured. 

' Yes, quite,' she answered ; and conscious that 
her words carried no conviction to him, she 
'•♦.added hastily, ' Go and speak to Harry. There 
he- is.' 

Ruston obeyed her, and being left for a 
moment alone, she sat down on the chair placed 
near the door ready for her short intervals of 
rest. There was a slight pucker on her brow. 
The sight of Ruston and his question stirred in 
her thoughts which were never long dormant, 
and which his coming woke into sudden activity. 
She had not anticipated that he would venture 
to recall to her that incident — at least, not at 
once — in the first instant of meeting, at such a 
time and such a place. But as he had, she 
found herself yielding to the reminiscence he 
induced. Forgotten the cause of her anger with 
him ? For the first two or three years of her 
married life, she would have answered, ' Yes, I 
have forgotten it.' Then had come a period 
when now and again it recurred to her, not 
for his sake or its own, but as a summary of 
her stifled feeling ; and during that period she 
had resolutely struggled not to remember it. 
Of late that struggle had ceased, and the thing 
lay a perpetual background to her thoughts : 
when there was nothing else to think about, 
when the stage of her mind was empty of 
moving figures, it snatched at the chance of 


prominence, and thus became a recurrent con- 
sciousness from which her interests and her 
occupations could not permanently rescue her. 
For example, here she was thinking of it in the 
very midst of her party. Yet this persistence of 
memory seemed impertinent, unreasonable, 
almost insolent. For, as she told herself, find- 
ing it necessary to tell herself more and more 
often, her husband was still all that he had been 
when he had won her heart — good-looking, 
good-tempered, infinitely kind and devoted. 
When she married she had triumphed con- 
fidently in these qualities ; and the unanimous 
cry of surprised congratulation at the match 
she was making had confirmed her own joy and 
exultation in it. It had been a great match ; 
and yet, beyond all question, also a love 

But now the chorus of wondering applause 
was forgotten, and there remained only the one 
voice which had been raised to break the 
harmony of approbation — a voice that nobody, 
herself least of all, had listened to then. How 
should it be listened to ? It came from a 
nobody — a young man of no account, whose 
opinion none cared to ask ; whose judgment, 
had it been worth anything in itself, lay under 
suspicion of being biassed by jealousy. Willie 
Ruston had never declared himself her suitor ; 
yet (she clung hard to this) he would not have 
said what he did had not the chagrin of a 
defeated rival inspired him ; and a defeated 
rival, as everybody knows, will say anything. 


Certainly she had been right not to listen, and 
was wrong to remember. To this she had often 
made up her mind, and to this she returned 
now as she sat watching her husband and Willie 
Ruston, forgetful of all the chattering crowd 
"— „ As to what it was she resolved not to 
. -jemember, and did remember, it was just one 
sentence — his only comment on the news of her 
engagement, his only hint of any opinion or 
feeling about it. It was short, sharp, decisive, 
and, as his judgments were even in the days 
when he, alone of all the world, held them of any 
moment, absolutely confident ; it was also, she 
had felt on hearing it, utterly untrue, unjust, 
and ungenerous. It had rung out like a pistol- 
shot, ' Maggie, you're marrying a fool,' and 
then a snap of tight-fitting lips, a glance of 
scornful eyes, and a quick unhesitating stride 
away that hardly waited for a contemptuous 
smile at her angry cry, ' I'll never speak to you 
again.' She had been in a fury of wrath — she 
had a power of wrath — that a plain, awkward, 
penniless, and obscure youth — one whom she 
sometimes disliked for his arrogance, and some- 
times derided for his self-confidence — should 
dare to say such a thing about her Harry, 
whom she was so proud to love, and so proud 
to have won. It was indeed an insolent 
memory that flung the thing again and again 
in her teeth. 

The party began to melt away. The first 
good - bye roused Mrs Dennison from her 


enveloping reverie. Lady Valentine, from 
whom it came, lingered for a gush of voluble 
confidences about the charm of the house, and 
the people, and the smart little band that played 
softly in an alcove, and what not ; her daughter 
stood by, learning, it is to be hoped, how it is 
meet to behave in society, and scanning Evan 
Haselden's trim figure with wary critical glances, 
alert to turn aside if he should glance her way. 
Mrs Dennison returned the ball of civility, and, 
released by several more departures, joined 
Adela Ferrars. Adela stood facing Haselden 
and Tom Loring, who were arm-in-arm. At 
the other end of the room Harry Dennison and 
Ruston were still in conversation. 

' These men, Maggie/ began Adela — and it 
seemed a mere caprice of pronunciation that the 
word did not shape itself into • monkeys ' — ' are 
the absurdest creatures. They say I'm not fit 
to take part in politics ! And why ? ' 

Mrs Dennison shook her head, and smiled. 

' Because, if you please, I'm too emotional. 
Emotional, indeed ! And I can't generalise ! 
Oh, couldn't I generalise about men ! ' 

' Women can never say " No," ' observed 
Evan Haselden, not in the least as if he were 
repeating a commonplace. 

' You'll find you're wrong when you grow up,' 
retorted Adela. 

' I doubt that,' said Mrs Dennison, with the 
kindest of smiles. 

' Maggie, you spoil the boy. Isn't it enough 
that he should have gone straight from the 


fourth form — where, I suppose, he learnt to 
generalise — ' 

1 At any rate, not to be emotional,' murmured 

' Into Parliament, without having his head 
turned by — ' 

^ ' You'd better go, Evan,' suggested Loring in 
-3. warning tone. 

' I shall go too,' announced Adela. 

'I'm walking your way,' said Evan, who seemed 
to bear no malice. 

♦ How delightful ! ' 

1 You don't object ? ' 

' Not the least. I'm driving.' 

' A mere schoolboy score ! ' 

1 How stupid of me ! You haven't had time 
to forget them.' 

' Oh, take her away,' said Mrs Dennison, and 
they disappeared in a fire of retorts, happy, or 
happy enough for happy people, and probably 
Evan drove with the lady after all. 

Mrs Dennison walked towards where her 
husband and Ruston sat on a sofa in talk. 

'What are you two conspiring about?' she 

1 Ruston had something to say to me about 

'What! already?' 

' Oh, we've met in the city, Mrs Dennison,' ex- 
plained Ruston, with a confidential nod to Harry. 

'And that was the object of your appearance 
here to-day? I was flattering my party, it 


' No. I didn't expect to find your husband. 
I thought he would be at the House.' 

1 Ah, Harry, how did the speech go ? ' 

' Oh, really pretty well, I think,' answered 
Harry Dennison, with a contented air. ' I got 
nearly half through before we were counted-out' 

A very faint smile showed on his wife's face. 

' So you were counted out ? ' she asked. 

' Yes, or I shouldn't be here.' 

'You see, I am acquitted, Mrs Dennison, 
Only an accident brought him here.' 

'An accident impossible to foresee,' she ac- 
quiesced, with the slightest trace of bitterness 
— so slight that her husband did not notice it. 

Ruston rose. 

4 Well, you'd better talk to Semingham about 
it,' he remarked to Harry Dennison ; * he's one 
of us, you know.' 

'Yes, I will. And I'll just get you that 
pamphlet of mine; you can put it in your 

He ran out of the room to fetch what he 
promised. Mrs Dennison, still faintly smiling, 
held out her hand to Ruston. 

'It's been very pleasant to see you again,' 
she said graciously. ' I hope it won't be eight 
years before our next meeting.' 

' Oh, no ; you see I'm floating now.' 

' Floating ? ' she repeated, with a smile of en- 

' Yes ; on the surface. I've been in the 
depths till very lately, and there one meets no 
good society.' 


1 Ah ! You've had a struggle ? ' 

' Yes,' he answered, laughing ; ' you may call 
it a bit of a struggle.' 

She looked at him with grave, curious eyes. 

' And you're not married ? ' she asked abruptly. 

1 No, I'm glad to say.' 
-* ' Why glad, Mr Ruston ? Some people like 
being married.' 

' Oh, I don't claim to be above it, Mrs 
Dennison,' he answered with a laugh, ' but a 
wife would have been a great hindrance to me 
all these years.' 

There was a simple and bona fide air about 
his statement ; it was not raillery ; and Mrs 
Dennison laughed in her turn. 

' Oh, how like you ! ' she murmured. 

Mr Ruston, with a passing gleam of surprise 
at her merriment, bade her a very unemotional 
farewell, and left her. She sat down and waited 
idly for her husband's return. Presently he came 
in. He had caught Ruston in the hall, delivered 
his pamphlet, and was whistling cheerfully. He 
took a chair near his wife. 

' Rum chap that ! ' he said. ' But he's got a 
good deal of stuff in him ;' and he resumed his 
lively tune. 

The tune annoyed Mrs Dennison. To suffer 
whistling without visible offence was one of her 
daily trials. Harry's emotions and reflections 
were prone to express themselves through that 

' I didn't do half-badly, to-day,' said Harry, 
breaking off again. • Old Tom had got it all 


splendidly in shape for me — by Jove, I don't 
know what I should do without Tom — and I 
think I put it pretty well. But, of course, it's 
a subject that doesn't catch on with everybody.' 

It was the dullest subject in the world ; it 
was also, in all likelihood, one of the most un- 
important; and dull subjects are so seldom 
unimportant that the perversity of the combina- 
tion moved Maggie Dennison to a wondering 
pity. She rose and came behind the chair where 
her husband sat. Leaning over the back, she 
rested her elbows on his shoulders, and lightly 
clasped her hands round his neck. He stopped 
his whistle, which had grown soft and contented, 
laughed, and kissed one of the encircling hands, 
and she, bending lower, kissed him on the fore- 
head as he turned his face up to look at her. 

' You poor dear old thing ! ' she said, with a 
smile and a sigh. 


ar « 


WHEN it was no later than the middle ol 
June, Adela Ferrars, having her reputa- 
tion to maintain, ventured to sum up 
the season. It was, she said, a Ruston-cum- 
Violetta season. Violetta's doings and un- 
exampled triumphs have, perhaps luckily, no 
place here ; her dancing was higher and her 
songs more surpassing in another dimension 
than those of any performer who had hitherto 
won the smiles of society ; and young men who 
are getting on in life still talk about her. 
Ruston's fame was less widespread, but his 
appearance was an undeniable fact of the 
year. When a man, the first five years of whose 
adult life have been spent on a stool in a coal 
merchant's office, and the second five somewhere 
(an absolutely vague somewhere) in Southern or 
Central Africa, comes before the public, offering 
in one closed hand a new empire, or, to avoid 
all exaggeration, at least a province, asking 
with the other opened hand for three million 
pounds, the public is bound to afford him the 



tribute of some curiosity. When he enlists in 
his scheme men of eminence like Mr Foster 
Belford, of rank like Lord Semingham, of great 
financial resources like Dennison Sons & Com- 
pany, he becomes one whom it is expedient to 
bid to dinner and examine with scrutinising 
enquiry. He may have a bag of gold for you ; 
or you may enjoy the pleasure of exploding his 
prestige; at least, you are timely and up-to-date, 
and none can say that your house is a den of 
fogies, or yourself, in the language made to 
express these things (for how otherwise should 
they get themselves expressed ?) on other than 
' the inner rail.' 

It chanced that Miss Ferrars arrived early 
at the Seminghams, and she talked with her 
host on the hearth-rug, while Lady Semingham 
was elaborately surveying her small but comely 
person in a mirror at the other end of the long 
room. Lord Semingham was rather short and 
rather stout ; he hardly looked as if his ancestors 
had fought at Hastings — perhaps they had not, 
though the peerage said they had. He wore 
close-cut black whiskers, and the blue of his 
jowl witnessed a suppressed beard of great 
vitality. His single eye-glass reflected answer- 
ing twinkles to Adela's pince-nez, and his mouth 
was puckered at the world's constant entertain- 
ment ; men said that he found his wife alone a 
sufficient and inexhaustible amusement. 

' The Heathers are coming,' he said, ' and 
Lady Val and Marjory, and young Haselden, 
and Ruston.' 


' Toujours Ruston,' murmured Adela. 

1 And one or two more. What's wrong with 
Ruston ? There is, my dear Adela, no attitude 
more offensive than that of indifference to what 
the common herd finds interesting.' 

' He's a fright,' said Adela. ' You'd spike 
'•yourself on that bristly beard of his.' 
' "J If you happened to be near enough, you 
mean? — a danger my sex and our national 
habits render remote. Bessie ! ' 

Lady Semingham came towards them, with 
one last craning look at her own back as she 
turned. She always left the neighbourhood of 
a mirror with regret. 

' Well ? ' she asked with a patient little sigh. 

' Adela is abusing your friend Ruston.' 

' He's not my friend, Alfred. What's the 
matter, Adela ? ' 

' I don't think I like him. He's hard.' 

1 He's got a demon, you see,' said Semingham. 
' For that matter we all have, but his is a 

' Oh, what's my demon ? ' cried Adela. ' Is not 
oneself always the most interesting subject ? ' 

' Yours ? Cleverness ; he goads you into say- 
ing things one can't see the meaning of.' 

'Thanks! And yours?' 

' Grinning — so I grin at your things, though I 
don't understand 'em.' 

* And Bessie's ? ' 

' Oh, forgive me. Leave us a quiet home.' 

1 And now, Mr Ruston's ? ' 

' His is—' 


But the door opened, and the guests, all 
arriving in a heap, just twenty minutes late, 
flooded the room and drowned the topic. 
Another five minutes passed, and people had 
begun furtively to count heads and wonder 
whom they were waiting for, when Evan 
Haselden was announced. Hot on his heels 
came Ruston, and the party was completed. 

Mr Otto Heather took Adela Ferrars into 
dinner. Her heart sank as he offered his arm. 
She had been heard to call him the silliest man 
in Europe ; on the other hand, his wife, and 
some half-dozen people besides, thought him the 
cleverest in London. 

1 That man,' he said, swallowing his soup and 
nodding his head towards Ruston, * personifies all 
the hideous tendencies of the age — its brutality, 
its commercialism, its selfishness, its — ' 

Miss Ferrars looked across the table. Ruston 
was seated at Lady Semingham's left hand, and 
she was prattling to him in her sweet indistinct 
little voice. Nothing in his appearance warranted 
Heather's outburst, unless it were a sort of alert 
and almost defiant readiness, smacking of a 
challenge to catch him napping. 

' I'm not a mediaevalist myself,' she observed, 
and prepared to endure the penalty of an expose 
of Heather's theories. During its progress, she 
peered — for her near sight was no affectation — 
now and again at the occasion of her sufferings. 
She had heard a good deal about him — some- 
thing from her host, something from Harry 
Dennison, more from the paragraphists who had 


scented their prey, and gathered from the four 
quarters of heaven (or wherever they dwelt) 
upon him. She knew about the coal merchant's 
office, the impatient flight from it, and the rush 
over seas ; there were stories of real naked want, 
where a bed and shelter bounded for the moment 
*att a life's aspirations. She summed him up as 
■a "buccaneer modernised; and one does not ex- 
pect buccaneers to be amiable, while culture in 
them would be an incongruity. It was, on the 
whole, not very surprising, she thought, that few 
people liked William Roger Ruston — nor that 
many believed in him. 

' Don't you agree with me ? ' asked Heather. 

' Not in the least,' said Adela at random. 

The odds that he had been saying something 
foolish were very large. 

1 1 thought you were such friends ! ' exclaimed 
1 leather in surprise. 

' Well, to confess, I was thinking of something 
else. Who do you mean ? ' 

' Why, Mrs Dennison. I was saying that her 
calm queenly manner — ' 

' Good gracious, Mr Heather, don't call women 
' queenly." You're like — what is it ? — a " dime 
novel." ' 

If this comparison were meant to relieve her 
from the genius' conversation for the rest of 
dinner, it was admirably conceived. He turned 
his shoulder on her in undisguised dudgeon. 

' And how's the great scheme ? ' asked some- 
body of Ruston. 

'We hope to get the money,' he said, turning 



for a moment from his hostess. ' And if we do 
that, we're all right.' 

'Everything's going on very well,' called 
Semingham from the foot of the table. ' They've 
killed a missionary.' 

• How dreadful ! ' "lisped his wife. 

' Regrettable in itself, but the first step towards 
empire,' explained Semingham with a smile. 

1 It's to stop things of that kind that we are 
going there,' Mr Belford pronounced ; the speech 
was evidently meant to be repeated, and to rank 
as authoritative. 

' Of course,' chuckled Semingham. 

If he had been a shopman, he could not have 
resisted showing his customers how the adulter- 
ation was done. 

In spite of herself— for she strongly objected 
to being one of an admiring crowd, and liked a 
personal cachet on her emotions — Adela felt 
pleasure when, after dinner, Ruston came straight 
to her and, displacing Evan Haselden, sat down 
by her side. He assumed the position with a 
business-like air, as though he meant to stay. 
She often, indeed habitually, had two or three 
men round her, but to-night none contested 
Ruston's exclusive possession ; she fancied that 
the business-like air had something to do with 
it. She had been taken possession of, she said 
to herself, with a little impatience and yet a 
little pleasure also. 

'You know everybody here, I suppose?' he 
asked. His tone cast a doubt on the value of 
the knowledge. 


' It's my tenth season,' said Adela, with a 
laugh. ' I stopped counting them once, but 
there comes a time when one has to begin 

He looked at her — critically, she thought, as 
he said, 

*.,^The ravages of time no longer to be 
Jgqored ? ' 

1 Well, the exaggerations of friends to be 
checked. Yes, I suppose I know most of — ' 

She paused for a word. 

' The gang,' he suggested, leaning back and 
crossing his legs. 

'Yes, we are a gang, ana all on one chain. 
You're a recent captive, though.' 

' Yes,' he assented, ' it's pretty new to me. A 
year ago I hadn't a dress coat.' 

' The gods are giving you a second youth then.' 

1 Well, I take it. I don't know that I have 
much to thank the gods for.' 

1 They've been mostly against you, haven't 
they ? However, what does that matter, if you 
beat them ? ' 

He did not disclaim her compliment, but 
neither did he accept it. He ignored it, and 
Adela, who paid very few compliments, was 
amused and vexed. 

' Perhaps,' she added, ' you think your victory 
still incomplete?' 

This gained no better attention. Mr Ruston 
seemed to be following his own thoughts. 

' It must be a curious thing,' he remarked, ' to 
be born to a place like Semingham's.' 


' And to use it — or not to use it — like Lord 

' Yes, I was thinking that,' he admitted. 

' To be eminent requires some self-deception, 
doesn't it? Without that, it would seem too 
absurd. I think Lord Semingham is over- 
weighted with humour.' She paused and then 
— to show that she was not in awe of him — 
she added, — ' Now, I should say, you have 
very little.' 

' Very little indeed, I should think,' he agreed, 

'You're the only man I ever heard admit 
that of himself ; we all say it of one another.' 

• I know what I have and haven't got pretty well.' 

Adela was beginning to be more sure that 
she disliked him, but the topic had its interest 
for her and she went on, 

' Now I like to think I've got everything.' 

To her annoyance, the topic seemed to lose 
interest for him, just in proportion as it gained 
interest for her. In fact, Mr Ruston did not 
apparently care to talk about what she liked or 
didn't like. 

' Who's that pretty girl over there,' he asked, 
1 talking to young Haselden ? ' 

' Marjory Valentine,' said Adela curtly. 

« Oh ! I think I should like to talk to her.' 

' Pray, don't let me prevent you,' said Adela 
in very distant tones. 

The man seemed to have no manners. 

Mr Ruston said nothing, but gave a short 
laugh. Adela was not accustomed to be laughed 


at openly. Yet she felt defenceless ; this pachy- 
dermatous animal would be impervious to the 
pricks of her rapier. 

' You're amused ? ' she asked sharply. 

1 Why were you in such a hurry to take 
^offence ? I didn't say I wanted to go and talk 
ttvher now.' 
' "* It sounded like it.' 

1 Oh, well, I'm very sorry,' he conceded, still 
smiling, and obviously thinking her very absurd. 

She rose from her seat. 

' Please do, though. She'll be going soon, 
and you mayn't get another chance.' 

' Well, I will then,' he answered simply, 
accompanying the remark with a nod of 
approval for her sensible reminder. And he 
went at once. 

She saw him touch Haselden on the shoulder, 
and make the young man present him to 
Marjory. Ruston sat down, and Haselden 
drifted, aimless and forlorn, on a solitary 
passage along the length of the room. 

Adela joined Lady Semingham. 

' That's a dreadful man, Bessie,' she said ; 
1 he's a regular Juggernaut.' 

She disturbed Lady Semingham in a moment 
of happiness ; everybody had been provided 
with conversation, and the hostess could sit in 
peaceful silence, looking, and knowing that she 
looked, very dainty and pretty; she liked that 
much better than talking. 

1 Who's what, dear? ' she murmured. 

1 That man — Mr Ruston. I say he's a Jugger- 


naut. If you're in the way, he just walks over 
y OU — a nd sometimes when you're not : for fun, 
I suppose.' 

' Alfred says he's very clever,' observed Lady 
Semingham, in a tone that evaded any personal 
responsibility for the truth of the statement. 

' Well, I dislike him very much,' declared 

1 We won't have him again when you're 
coming, dear,' promised her friend soothingly. 

Adela looked at her, hesitated, opened her fan, 
shut it again, and smiled. 

' Oh, I didn't mean that, Bessie,' she said with 
half a laugh. ' Do, please.' 

' But if you dislike him — ' 

' Why, my dear, doesn't one hate half the men 
one likes meeting — and all the women ! ' 

Lady Semingham smiled amiably. She did 
not care to think out what that meant ; it was 
Adela's way, just as it was her husband's way to 
laugh at many things that seemed to her to 
afford no opening for mirth. But Adela was 
not to escape. Semingham himself appeared 
suddenly at her elbow, and observed, 

1 That's either nonsense or a truism, you know.' 

' Neither,' said Adela with spirit ; but her 
defence was interrupted by Evan Haselden. 

1 I'm going,' said he, and he looked out of 
temper. ' I've got another place to go to. And 
anyhow — ' 

' Well ? ' 

' I'd like to be somewhere where that chap 
Ruston isn't for a little while.' 


Adela glanced across. Ruston was still talking 
to Marjory Valentine. 

' What can he find to say to her ? ' thought 

' What the deuce she finds to talk about to 
that fellow, I can't think,' pursued Evan, and he 
'•flung off to bid Lady Semingham good-night. 
• •% Adela caught her host's eye and laughed. 
Lord Semingham's eyes twinkled. 

' It's a big province,' he observed, ' so there 
may be room for him — out there.' 

1 1,' said Adela, with an air of affected modesty, 
1 have ventured, subject to your criticism, to dub 
him Juggernaut.' 

' H'm,' said Semingham, 'it's a little obvious, 
but not so bad for you.' 



NEXT door to Mrs Dennison's large house 
in Curzon Street there lived, in a small 
house, a friend of hers, a certain Mrs 
Cormack. She was a Frenchwoman, who had 
been married to an Englishman, and was now 
his most resigned widow. She did not pretend 
to herself, or to anybody else, that Mr Cormack's 
death had been a pure misfortune, and by 
virtue of her past trials — perhaps, also, of her 
nationality — she was keenly awake to the seamy 
side of matrimony. She would rhapsodise on 
the joys of an ideal marriage, with a skilful hint 
of its rarity, and condemn transgressors with a 
charitable reservation for insupportable miseries. 
She was, she said, very romantic. Tom Loring, 
however (whose evidence was tainted by an 
intense dislike of her), declared that affaires du 
cceur interested her only when one at least of 
the parties was lawfully bound to a third person ; 
when both were thus trammelled, the situation 
was ideal. But the loves of those who were in 
a position to marry one another, and had no 



particular reason for not following that legiti- 
mate path to happiness, seemed to her (still 
according to Tom) dull, uninspiring — all, in fact, 
that there was possible of English and stupid. 
She hardly (Tom would go on, warming to his 
subject) believed in them at all, and she was in 
•the habit of regarding wedlock merely as a 
condition precedent to its own violent dissolu- 
tion. Whether this unhappy mode of looking 
at the matter were due to her own peculiarities, 
or to those of the late Mr Cormack, or to those 
of her nation, Tom did not pretend to say ; he 
confined himself to denouncing it freely, and to 
telling Mrs Dennison that her next-door neigh- 
bour was in all respects a most undesirable 
acquaintance ; at which outbursts Mrs Dennison 
would smile, 

Mrs Dennison, coming out on to the balcony to 
see if her carriage were in sight down the street, 
found her friend close to her elbow. Their 
balconies adjoined, and friendship had led to a 
little gate being substituted for the usual dwarf- 
wall of division. Tom Loring erected the gate 
into an allegory of direful portent. Mrs Cor- 
mack passed through it, and laid an affectionate 
grasp on Maggie Dennison's arm. 

' You're starting early,' she remarked. 

1 I'm going a long way — right up to Hamp- 
stead. I've promised Harry to call on some 
people there.' 

' Ah ! Who ? ' 

' Their name's Carlin. He knows Mr Carlin in 
business. Mr Carlin's a friend of Mr Ruston's.' 


• Oh, of Ruston's ? I like that Ruston. He is 
interesting — inspiring.' 

'Is he ? ' said Mrs Dennison, buttoning her 
glove. ' You'd better marry him, Berthe.' 

1 Marry him ? No, indeed. I think he would 
beat one.' 

' Is that being inspiring ? I'm glad Harry's 
not inspiring.' 

' Oh, you know what I mean. He's a man 
who — ' 

Mrs Cormack threw up her arms as though 
praying for the inspired word. Mrs Dennison 
did not wait for it. 

' There's the carriage. Good-bye, dear,' she said. 

Mrs Dennison started with a smile on her 
face. Berthe was so funny ; she was like a page 
out of a French novel. She loved anything not 
quite respectable, and peopled the world with 
heroes of loose morals and overpowering wills. 
She adored a dominating mind and lived in 
the discovery of affinities. What nonsense it 
all was — so very remote from the satisfactory 
humdrum of real life. One kept house, and 
gave dinners, and made the children happy, and 
was fond of one's husband, and life passed most — 
Here Mrs Dennison suddenly yawned, and fell 
to hoping that the Carlins would not be oppres- 
sively dull. She had been bored all day long ; 
the children had been fretful, and poor Harry 
was hurt and in low spirits because of a cruel 
caricature in a comic paper, and Tom Loring 
had scolded her for laughing at the caricature (it 
hit Harry off so exactly), and nobody had come 


to see her, except a wretch who had once been her 
kitchen-maid, and had come to terrible grief, and 
wanted to be taken back, and of course couldn't 
be, and had to be sent away in tears with a 
sovereign, and the tears were no use and the 
„ sovereign not much. 

"*~ The Carlins fortunately proved tolerably in- 
teresting in their own way. Carlin was about 
fifty-five — an acute man of business, it seemed, 
and possessed by an unwavering confidence in 
the abilities of Willie Ruston. Mrs Carlin was 
ten or fifteen years younger than her husband — 
a homely little woman, with a swarm of children. 
Mrs Dennison wondered how they all fitted into 
the small house, but was told that it was larger 
by two good rooms than their old dwelling in 
the country town, whence Willie had summoned 
them to take a hand in his schemes. Willie 
had not insisted on the coal business being 
altogether abandoned — as Mrs Carlin said, with 
a touch of timidity, it was well to have some- 
thing to fall back upon — but he required most 
of Carlin's time now, and the added work made 
residence in London a necessity. In spite of 
Mr Carlin's air of hard-headedness, and his 
wife's prudent recognition of the business aspect 
of life, they neither of them seemed to have a 
will of their own. Willie — as they both called 
him — was the Providence, and the mixture of 
reverence and familiarity presented her old 
acquaintance in a new light to Maggie Denni- 
son. Even the children prattled about ' Willie,' 
and their mother's rebukes made ' Mr Ruston ' 


no more than a strange and transitory effort. 
Mrs Dennison wondered what there was in the 
man — consulting her own recollections of him 
in hope of enlightenment. 

' He takes such broad views,' said Carlin, and 
seemed to find this characteristic the sufficient 
justification for his faith. 

' I used to know him very well, you know,' 
remarked Mrs Dennison, anxious to reach a 
more friendly footing, and realising that to 
connect herself with Ruston offered the best 
chance of it. ' I daresay he's spoken of me — of 
Maggie Sherwood ? 

They thought not, though Willie had been in 
Carlin's employ at the time when he and Mrs 
Dennison parted. She was even able, by com- 
parison of dates, to identify the holiday in which 
that scene had occurred and that sentence been 
spoken ; but he had never mentioned her name. 
She very much doubted whether he had even 
thought of her. The fool and the fool's wife 
had both been dismissed from his mind. She 
frowned impatiently. Why should it be any- 
thing to her if they had ? 

There was a commotion among the children, 
starting from one who was perched on the 
window-sill. Ruston himself was walking up to 
the door, dressed in a light suit and a straw hal. 
After the greetings, while all were busy getting 
him tea, he turned to Mrs Dennison. 

' This is very kind of you,' he said in an 

1 My husband wished me to come,' she replied. 


He seemed in good spirits. He laughed, as 
he answered, 

• Well, I didn't suppose you came to please 

'You spoke as if you did,' said she, still 
trying to resent his tone, which she thought a 
•better guide to the truth than his easy dis- 

' Why, you never did anything to please me ! ' 

' Did you ever ask me ? ' she retorted. 

He glanced at her for a moment, as he began 
to answer, 

' Well, now, I don't believe I ever did ; but 

Mrs Carlin interposed with a proffered cup of 
tea, and he broke off. 

' Thanks, Mrs Carlin. I say, Carlin, it's going 
first-rate. Your husband's help's simply in- 
valuable, Mrs Dennison.' 

' Harry ? ' she said, in a tone that she regretted 
a moment later, for there was a passing gleam 
in Ruston's eye before he answered gravely, 

' His firm carries great weight. Well, we're 
all in it here, sink or swim ; aren't we, Carlin ? ' 

Carlin nodded emphatically, and his wife gave 
an anxious little sigh. 

' And what's to be the end of it ? ' asked Mrs 

' Ten per cent.,' said Carlin, with conviction, 
lie could not have spoken with more utter 
satisfaction of the millennium. 

'The end?' echoed Ruston. 'Oh, I don't 


' At least he won't say,' said Carlin admir- 

Mrs Dennison rose to go, engaging the 
Carlins to dine with her — an invitation accepted 
with some nervousness, until the extension of it 
to Ruston gave them a wing to come under. 
Ruston, with that directness of his that shamed 
mere dexterity and superseded tact, bade 
Carlin stay where he was, and himself escorted 
the visitor to her carriage. Half-way down the 
garden walk she looked up at him and re- 

' I expect you're the end.' 

His eyes had been wandering, but they came 
back sharply to hers. 

' Then don't tell anybody,' said he lightly. 

She did not know whether what he said 
amounted to a confession or were merely a 
jest. The next moment he was off at a 

' I like your friend Miss Ferrars. She says 
a lot of sharp things, and now and then some- 
thing sensible.' 

• Now and then ! Poor Adela ! ' 

' Well, she doesn't often try. Besides, she's 

' Oh, you've found time to notice that ? ' 

' I notice that first,' said Mr Ruston. 

They were at the carriage-door. 

' I'm not dressed properly, so I mustn't drive 
with you,' he said. 

' Supposing that was the only reason,' she 
replied, smiling, * would it stop you ? ' 


' Certainly.' 


' Because of other fools.' 

' I'll take you as far as Regent's Park. The 
other fools are on the other side of that' 
„ 'I'll chance so far,' and, waving his hand 
vaguely towards the house, he got in. It did 
not seem to occur to him that there was any 
want of ceremony in his farewell to the Carlins. 

1 I suppose,' she said, ' you think most of us 
fools ? ' 

' I've been learning to think it less and to 
show it less still.' 

' You're not much changed, though.' 

' I've had some of my corners chipped off by 
collision with other hard substances.' 

I Thank you for that " other " ! ' cried Mrs 
Dennison, with a little laugh. ' They must 
have been very hard ones.' 

I I didn't say that they weren't a little bit 
injured too.' 

' Poor things ! I should think so.' 

' I have my human side.' 

' Generally the other side, isn't it ? ' she asked, 
with a merry glance. 

The talk had suddenly become very pleasant. 
He laughed, and stopped the carriage. A sigh 
escaped from Mrs Dennison. 

' Next time,' he said, ' we'll talk about you, 
or Miss Ferrars, or that little Miss Marjory 
Valentine, not about me. Good-bye,' and he 
was gone before she could say a word to him. 

But it was natural that she should think a 


little about him. She had not, she said to herself 
with a weary smile, too many interesting things 
to think about, and she began to find him de- 
cidedly interesting ; in which fact again she 
found a certain strangeness and some material 
for reflection, because she recollected very well 
that as a girl she had not found him very attrac- 
tive. Perhaps she demanded then more colour- 
ing of romance than he had infused into their 
intercourse ; she had indeed suspected him of 
suppressed romance, but the suppression had 
been very thorough, betraying itself only doubt- 
fully here and there, as in his judgment of her 
accepted suitor. Moreover, let his feelings then 
have been what they might, he was not, she 
felt sure, the man to cherish a fruitless love 
for eight or nine years, or to suffer any resur- 
rection of expired emotions on a renewed en- 
counter with an old flame. He buried his dead 
too deep for that ; if they were in the way, she 
could fancy him sometimes shovelling the earth 
over them and stamping it down without look- 
ing too curiously whether life were actually 
extinct or only flickering towards its extinc- 
tion ; if it were not quite gone at the begin- 
ning of the graved igger's work, it would be at 
the end, and the result was the same. Nor did 
she suppose that ghosts gibbered or clanked in 
the orderly trim mansions of his brain. In 
fact, she was to him a more or less pleas- 
ant acquaintance, sandwiched in his mind 
between Adela Ferrars and Marjory Valentine 
— with something attractive about her, though 


she might lack the sparkle of the one and had 
been robbed of the other's youthful freshness. 
This was the conclusion which she called upon 
herself to draw as she drove back from Hamp- 
stead — the plain and sensible conclusion. Yet, 
as she reached Curzon Street, there was a 
sxnjle on her face ; and the conclusion was 
ha? : dly such as to make her smile — unless in- 
deed she had added to it the reflection that it 
is ill judging of things till they are finished. 
Her acquaintance with Willie Ruston was not 
ended yet. 

' Maggie, Maggie ! ' cried her husband through 
the open door of his study as she passed up- 
stairs. ' Great news ! We're to go ahead. We 
settled it at the meeting this morning.' 

Harry Dennison was in exuberant spirits. 
The great company was on the verge of actual 
existence. From the chrysalis of its syndicate 
stage it was to issue a bright butterfly. 

1 And Ruston was most complimentary to our 
house. He said he could never have carried it 
through without us. He's in high feather.' 

Mrs Dennison listened to more details, think- 
ing, as her husband talked, that Ruston's cheerful 
mood was fully explained, but wondering that 
he had not himself thought it worth while to 
explain to her the cause of it a little more 
fully. With that achievement fresh in his hand, 
he had been content to hold his peace. Did 
he think her not worth telling? 

With a cloud on her brow and her smile 
eclipsed, she passed on to the drawing-room. 



The window was open and she saw Tom 
Loring's back in the balcony. Then she heard 
her friend Mrs Cormack's rather shrill voice. 

' Not say such things ? ' the voice cried, and 
Mrs Dennison could picture the whirl of ex- 
postulatory hands that accompanied the ques- 
tion. ' But why not ? ' 

Tom's voice answered in the careful tones of 
a man who is trying not to lose his temper, or, 
anyhow, to conceal the loss. 

' Well, apart from anything else, suppose 
Dennison heard you ? It wouldn't be over- 
pleasant for him.' 

Mrs Dennison stood still, slowly peeling off 
her gloves. 

' Oh, the poor man ! I would not like to 
hurt him. I will be silent. Oh, he does his 
very best ! But you can't help it.' 

Mrs Dennison stepped a yard nearer the 

' Help what ? ' asked Tom in the deepest 
exasperation, no longer to be hidden. 

' Why, what must happen ? It must be that 
the true man — ' 

A smile flickered over Maggie Dennison's face. 
How like Berthe ! But whence came this 
topic ? 

' Nonsense, I tell you!' cried Tom with a stamp 
of his foot. 

And at the sound Mrs Dennison smiled again, 
and drew yet nearer to the window. 

' Oh, it's always nonsense what I say ! Well, 
we shall see, Mr Loring,' and Mrs Cormack 


tripped in through her window, and wrote in 
her diary — she kept a diary full of reflections 
— that Englishmen were all stupid. She had 
written that before, but the deep truth bore 

. Tom went in too, and found himself face 
to""1ace with Mrs Dennison. Bright spots of 
coi'dur glowed on her cheeks ; had she answered 
the question of the origin of the topic? Tom 
blushed and looked furtively at her. 

' So the great scheme is launched/ she re- 
marked, ' and Mr Ruston triumphs ! ' 

Tom's manner betrayed intense relief, but 
he was still perturbed. 

' We're having a precious lot of Ruston,' 
he observed, leaning against the mantelpiece 
and putting his hands in his pockets. 

1 / like him,' said Maggie Dennison. 

' Those are the orders, are they ? ' asked Tom 
with a rather wry smile. 

1 Yes,' she answered, smiling at Tom's smile. 
It amused her when he put her manner into 

' Then we all like him,' said Tom, and, feel- 
ing quite secure now, he added, ' Mrs Cormack 
said we should, which is rather against 

1 Oh, Berthe's a silly woman. Never mind 
her. Harry likes him too.' 

' Lucky for Ruston he does. Your 
husband's a useful friend. I fancy most 
of Ruston's friends are of the useful 


' And why shouldn't we be useful to 
him ? ' 

' On the contrary, it seems our destiny,' 
grumbled Tom, whose destiny appeared not to 
please him. 



LADY VALENTINE was the widow of a 
baronet of good family and respectable 
means ; the one was to be continued and 
the other absorbed by her son, young Sir Walter, 
now an Oxford undergraduate and just turned 
twenty-one years of age. Lady Valentine had 
a jointure, and Marjory a pretty face. The re- 
maining family assets were a country-house of 
moderate dimensions in the neighbourhood of 
Maidenhead, and a small fiat in Cromwell Road. 
Lady Valentine deplored the rise of the pluto- 
cracy, and had sometimes secretly hoped that a 
plutocrat would marry her daughter. In other 
respects she was an honest and unaffected woman. 
Young Sir Walter, however, had his own 
views for his sister, and young Sir Walter, when 
he surveyed the position which the laws and 
customs of the realm gave him, was naturally 
led to suppose that his opinion had some im- 
portance. He was hardly responsible for the 
error, and very probably Mr Ruston would have 
been better advised had his bearing towards the 




young man not indicated so very plainly that 
the error was an error. But in the course of the 
visits to Cromwell Road, which Ruston found 
time to pay in the intervals of floating the Omo- 
faga Company — and he was a man who found 
time for many things — this impression of his 
made itself tolerably evident, and, consequently, 
Sir Walter entertained grave doubts whether 
Ruston were a gentleman. And, if a fellow is 
not a gentleman, what, he asked, do brains and 
all the rest of it go for ? Moreover, how did the 
chap live ? To which queries Marjory answered 
that ' Oxford boys ' were very silly — a remark 
which embittered, without in the least elucidat- 
ing, the question. 

Almost everybody has one disciple who looks 
up to him as master and mentor, and, ill as he 
was suited to such a post, Evan Haselden filled 
it for Walter Valentine. Evan had been in his 
fourth year when Walter was a freshman, and 
the reverence engendered in those days had 
been intensified when Evan had become, first, 
secretary to a minister, and then, as he showed 
diligence and aptitude, a member of Parliament. 
Evan was a strong Tory, but payment of mem- 
bers had an unholy attraction for him ; this in- 
dication of his circumstances may suffice. Men 
thought him a promising youth, women called 
him a nice boy, and young Sir Walter held him 
for a statesman and a man of the world. 

Seeing that what Sir Walter wanted was an 
unfavourable opinion of Ruston, he could not 
have done better than consult his respected 


friend. Juggernaut — Adela Ferrars was pleased 
with the nickname, and it began to be repeated 
—had been crushing Evan in one or two little 
ways lately, and he did it with an unconscious- 
ness that increased the brutality. Besides dis- 
. placing him from the position he wished to 
occupy at more than one social gathering, Rus- 
ton, being in the Lobby of the House one day 
(perhaps on Omofaga business), had likened the 
pretty (it was his epithet) young member, as he 
sped with a glass of water to his party leader, to 
Ganymede in a frock-coat — a description, Evan 
felt, injurious to a serious politician. 

' A gentleman ? ' he said, in reply to young 
Sir Walter's inquiry. ' Well, everybody's a 
gentleman now, so I suppose Ruston is.' 

' I call him an unmannerly brute,' observed 
Walter, 'and I can't think why mother and 
Marjory are so civil to him.' 

Evan shook his head mournfully. 

' You meet the fellow everywhere,' he sighed. 

1 Such an ugly mug as he's got too,' pursued 
young Sir Walter. ' But Marjory says it's full 
of character.' 

' Character ! I should think so. Enough to 
hang him on sight,' said Evan bitterly. 

1 He's been a lot to our place. Marjory seems 
to like him. I say, Haselden, do you remember 
what you spoke of after dinner at the Savoy the 
other day? ' 

Evan nodded, looking rather embarrassed ; 
indeed he blushed, and, little as he liked doing 
that, it became him very well. 


'Did you mean it? Because, you know, I 
should like it awfully.' 

'Thanks, Val, old man. Oh, rather, I meant 

Young Sir Walter lowered his voice and 
looked cautiously round — they were in the club 

' Because I thought, you know, that you were 
rather — you know — Adela Ferrars ? ' 

' Nothing in that, only pour passer le temps? 
Evan assured him with that superb man-of-the- 

It was a pity that Adela could not hear him. 
But there was more to follow. 

' The truth is,' resumed Evan — ' and, of course, 
I rely on your discretion, Val— I thought there 
might be a — an obstacle.' 

Young Sir Walter looked knowing. 
'When you were good enough to suggest 
what you did — about your sister — I doubted for 
a moment how such a thing would be received 
by — well, at a certain house.' 

' I shouldn't wonder if you could guess.' 
1 N — no, I don't think so.' 
' Well, it doesn't matter where.' 
'Oh, but I say, you might as well tell me. 
Hang it, I've learnt to hold my tongue.' 

' You hadn't noticed it ? That's all right. I'm 
glad to hear it,' said Evan, whose satisfaction 
was not conspicuous in his tone. 

1 I'm so little in town, you see,' said Walter 


1 Well — for heaven's sake, don't let it go any 
farther — Curzon Street.' 

' What ! Of course ! Mrs—' 

* All right, yes. But I've made up my mind. 
I shall drop a'll that. Best, isn't it ? ' 

Walter nodded a sagacious assent. 
"■j There was never anything in it, really/ said 
Evan, and he was not displeased with his 
friend's incredulous expression. It is a great 
luxury to speak the truth and yet not be 

' Now, what you propose, 5 continued Evan, ' is 
most — but, I say, Val, what does she think ? ' 

' She likes you — and you'll have all my 
influence,' said the Head of the Family in a tone 
of importance. 

1 But how do you know she likes me? ' insisted 
Evan, whose off-hand air gave place to a 
manner betraying some trepidation. 

' I don't know for certain, of course. And, I 
say, Haselden, I believe mother's got an idea in 
her head about that fellow Ruston.' 

' The devil ! That brute ! Oh, hang it, Val, 
she can't — your sister, I mean — I tell you what, 
I sha'n't play the fool any longer.' 

Sir Walter cordially approved of increased 
activity, and the two young gentlemen, having 
settled one lady's future and disposed of the 
claims of two others to their complete satisfac- 
tion, betook themselves to recreation. 

Evan was not, however, of opinion that any- 
thing in the conversation above recorded, imposed 
upon him the obligation of avoiding entirely 


Mrs Dennison's society. On the contrary, he 
took an early opportunity of going to see her. 
His attitude towards her was one of considerably 
greater deference than Sir Walter understood it 
to be, and he had a high idea of the value of her 
assistance. And he did not propose to deny 
himself such savour of sentiment as the lady 
would allow ; and she generally allowed a little. 
He intended to say nothing about Ruston, but, 
as it happened that Mrs Dennison's wishes set in 
an opposing direction, he had not been long in 
the drawing-room at Curzon Street before he 
found himself again with the name of his enemy 
on his lips. He spoke with refreshing frankness 
and an engaging confidence in his hostess' sym- 
pathy. Mrs Dennison had no difficulty in seeing 
that he had a special reason for his bitterness. 

' Is it only because he called you Ganymede ? 
And it's a very good name for you, Mr Haselden.' 

To be compared to Ganymede in private by a 
lady and in public by a scoffer, are things very 
different. Evan smiled complacently. 

1 There's more than that, isn't there ? ' asked 
Mrs Dennison. 

Evan admitted that there was more, and, in 
obedience to some skilful guidance, he revealed 
what there was more — what beyond mere 
offended dignity — between himself and Mr 
Ruston. He. had to complain of no lack of 
interest on the part of his listener. Mrs 
Dennison questioned him closely as to his 
grounds for anticipating Ruston's rivalry. The 
idea was evidently quite new to her ; and Evan 


was glad to detect her reluctance to accept it 
— she must think as he did about Willie 
Ruston. The tangible evidence appeared on 
examination reassuringly small, and Evan, by 
a strange conversion, found himself driven to 
. defend his apprehensions by insisting on just 
that power of attraction in his foe which he 
had begun by denying altogether. But that, 
Mrs Dennison objected, only showed, even if 
it existed, that Marjory might like Ruston, 
not that Ruston would return her liking. On 
the whole Mrs Dennison comforted him, and, 
dismissing Ruston from the discussion, said 
with a smile, 

' So you're thinking of settling down already, 
are you ? ' 

' I say, Mrs Dennison, you've always been 
awfully good to me ; I wonder if you'd help me 
in this ? ' 

' How could I help you ? ' 

1 Oh, lots of ways. Well, for instance, old Lady 
Valentine doesn't ask me there often. You 
see, I haven't got any money' 

' Poor boy ! Of course you haven't. Nice 
young men never have any money.' 

1 So I don't get many chances of seeing her.' 

'And I might arrange meetings for you? That's 
how I could help ? Now, why should I help ? ' 

Evan was encouraged by this last question, 
put in his friend's doubtfully-serious, doubtfully- 
playful manner. 

' It needn't,' he said, in a tone rather more 
timid than young Sir Walter would have 


expected, ' make any difference to our friend- 
ship, need it ? If it meant that — ' 

The sentence was left in expressive incom- 

Mrs Dennison wanted to laugh ; but why 
should she hurt his feelings ? He was a 
pleasant boy, and, in spite of his vanity, really 
a clever one. He had been a little spoilt ; that 
was all. She turned her laugh in another 

' Berthe Cormack would tell you that it 
would be sure to intensify it,' she said. ' Seri- 
ously, I sha'n't hate you for marrying, and I 
don't suppose Marjory will hate me.' 

• Then ' (Mrs Dennison had to smile at that 
little word), 'you'll help me ? ' 

' Perhaps,' said Mrs Dennison, allowing her 
smile to become manifest. 

' You won't be against me ? ' 

' Perhaps not.' 

' Good-bye,' said Evan, pressing her hand. 

He had enjoyed himself very much, and Mrs 
Dennison was glad that she had been good- 
natured, and had not laughed. 

' Good-bye, and I hope you'll be very happy, 
if you succeed. And — Evan — don't kill Mr 
Ruston ! ' 

The laugh came at last, but he was out of the 
door in time, and Mrs Dennison had no leisure 
to enjoy it fully, for, the moment her visitor 
was gone, Mr Belford and Lord Semingham 
were announced. They came together, seeking 
Harry Dennison. There was a 'little hitch' 


of some sort in the affairs of the Omofaga 
Company — nothing of consequence, said Mr 
Belford reassuringly. Mrs Dennison explained 
that Harry Dennison had gone off to call on 
Mr Ruston. 

' Oh, then he knows by now,' said Seming- 
"hajrn in a tone of relief. 

'And it'll be all right,' added Belford con- 

' Mr Belford,' said Mrs Dennison, 'I'm living 
in an atmosphere of Omofaga. I eat it, and 
drink it, and wear it, and breathe it. And what, 
in the end, is it ? ' 

' Ask Ruston,' interposed Semingham. 

' I did ; but I don't think he told me.' 

1 But surely, my dear Mrs Dennison, your 
husband takes you into his confidence ? ' sug- 
gested Mr Belford. 

Mrs Dennison smiled as she replied, 

'Oh, yes, I know what you're doing. But I 
want to know why you're doing it. I don't 
believe you'll ever get anything out of it, you 

'Oh, directors always get something,' pro- 
tested Semingham. ' Penal servitude sometimes 
but always something.' 

' I've never had such implicit faith in any 
undertaking in my life,' asserted Mr Belford. 
' And I know that your husband shares my 
views. It's bound to be the greatest success of 
the day. Ah, here's Dennison ! ' 

Harry came in wiping his brow. Belford 
rushed to him, and drew him to the window, 


button-holing him with decision. Lord Sem- 
ingham smiled lazily and pulled his whisker. 

' Don't you want to hear the news ? ' Mrs 
Dennison asked. 

' No ! He's been to Ruston.' 

Mrs Dennison looked at him for an instant, 
with something rather like scorn in her eye. 
Lord Semingham laughed. 

' I'm not quite as bad as that, really,' he 

' And the others ? ' she asked, leaning forward 
and taking care that her voice did not reach the 
other pair. 

' He turns Belford round his fingers.' 

• And Mr Carlin ? ' 

' In his pocket.' 

Mrs Dennison cast a glance towards the 

1 Don't go on,' implored Semingham, half- 

' And my husband ? ' she asked in a still lower 

Lord Semingham protested with a gesture 
against such cross-examination. 

'Surely it's a good thing for me to know?' 
she said. 

' Well — a great influence.' 

' Thank you.' 

There was a pause for an instant. Then she 
rose with a laugh and rang the bell for tea. 

' I hope he won't ruin us all,' she said. 

' I've got Bessie's settlement,' observed Lord 
Semingham ; and he added after a moment's 


pause, ' What's the matter ? I thought you 
were a thorough-going believer.' 

'I'm a woman,' she answered. c If I were a 
man — ' 

'You'd be the prophet, not the disciple, 

*.~.$he looked at him, and then across to the 
couple by the window. 

' To do Belford justice,' remarked Semingham, 
reading her glance, ' he never admits that he 
isn't a great man — though surely he must 
know it.' 

' Is it better to know it, or not to know it ? ' 
she asked, restlessly fingering the teapot and 
cups which had been placed before her. ' I 
sometimes think that if you resolutely refuse to 
know it, you can alter it' 

Belford's name had been the only name 
mentioned in the conversation ; yet Seming- 
ham knew that she was not thinking of Belford 
nor of him. 

' I knew it about myself very soon,' he said. 
1 It makes a man better to know it, Mrs 

' Oh, yes — better,' she answered impati- 

The two men came and joined them. Belford 
accepted a cup of tea, and, as he took it, he 
said to Harry, continuing their conversation, 

'Of course, I know his value; but, after all, 
we must judge for ourselves.' 

' Of course,' acquiesced Harry, handing him 


' We are the masters,' pursued Belford. 

Mrs Dennison glanced at him, and a smile 
so full of meaning — of meaning which it was 
as well Mr Belford should not see — appeared 
on her face, that Lord Semingham deftly inter- 
posed his person between them, and said, with 
apparent seriousness, 

' Oh, he mustn't think he can do just what he 
likes with us.' 

' I am entirely of your opinion,' said Belford, 
with a weighty nod. 

After tea, Lord Semingham walked slowly 
back to his own house. He had a trick of 
stopping still, when he fell into thought, and 
he was motionless on the pavement of Piccadilly 
more than once on his way home. The last 
time he paused for nearly three minutes, till 
an acquaintance, passing by, clapped him on 
the back, and inquired what occupied his 

' I was thinking,' said Semingham, laying his 
forefinger on his friend's arm, ' that if you take 
what a clever man really is, and add to it what 
a clever woman who is interested in him 
thinks he is, you get a most astonishing 

The friend stared. The speculation seemed 
hardly pressing enough to excuse a man for 
blocking the pavement of Piccadilly. 

' If, on the other hand,' pursued Semingham, 
'you take what an ordinary man isn't, and add 
all that a clever woman thinks he isn't, you 


' Hadn't we better go on, old fellow ? ' asked 
the friend. 

' No, I think we'd better not,' said Semingham, 
starting to walk again. 




THE success of Lady Valentine's Saturday 
to Monday party at Maidenhead was 
spoilt by the unscrupulous, or (if the 
charitable view be possible) the muddle-headed 
conduct of certain eminent African chiefs — so 
small is the world, so strong the chain of gold 
(or shares) that binds it together. The party 
was marred by Willie Ruston's absence ; and 
he was away because he had to go to Frank- 
fort, and he had to go to Frankfort because 
of that little hitch in the affairs of the Omofaga. 
The hitch was, in truth, a somewhat grave one, 
and it occurred, most annoyingly, immediately 
after a gathering, marked by uncommon en- 
thusiasm and composed of highly-influential 
persons, had set the impress of approval on the 
scheme. On the following morning, it was 
asserted that the said African chiefs, from whom 
Ruston and his friends derived their title to 
Omofaga, had acted in a manner that belied 
the character for honesty and simplicity in 
commercial matters (existing side by side with 



intense savagery and cruelty in social and 
political life) that Mr Foster Belford had 
attributed to them at the great meeting. They 
had, it was said, sold Omofaga several times 
over in small parcels, and twice, at least, en 
bloc — once to the Syndicate (from whom the 
•■Company was acquiring it) and once to an 
association of German capitalists. The writer 
of the article, who said that he knew the chiefs 
well, went so far as to maintain that any 
person provided with a few guns and a dozen 
or so bottles of ardent spirits could return from 
Omofaga with a portmanteau full of treaties, 
and this facility in obtaining the article could 
not, in accordance with the law of supply and 
demand, do other than gravely affect the value 
of it. Willie Ruston was inclined to make light 
of this disclosure ; indeed, he attributed it to 
a desire — natural but unprincipled — on the part 
of certain persons to obtain Omofaga shares 
at less than their high intrinsic value ; he 
called it a 'bear dodge' and sundry other 
opprobrious names, and snapped his fingers 
at all possible treaties in the world except 
his own. Once let him set his foot in Omo- 
faga, and short would be the shrift of rival 
claims, supposing them to exist at all ! But 
the great house of Dennison, Sons & Company, 
could not go on in this happy-go-lucky fashion — 
so the senior partner emphatically told Harry 
Dennison — they were already, in his opinion, 
deep enough in this affair ; if they were to 
go any deeper, this matter of the association 


of German capitalists must be inquired into. 
The house had not only its money, but its 
credit and reputation to look after ; it could 
not touch any doubtful business, nor could it 
be left with a block of Omofagas on its hands. 
In effect they were trusting too much to this 
Mr Ruston, for he, and he alone, was their 
security in the matter. Not another step would 
the house move till the German capitalists 
were dissolved into thin air. So Willie Ruston 
packed his portmanteau — likely enough the 
very one that had carried the treaties away 
from Omofaga — and went to Frankfort to 
track the German capitalists to their lair. 
Meanwhile, the issue of the Omofaga was post- 
poned, and Mr Carlin was set a-telegraphing 
to Africa. 

Thus it also happened that, contrary to her 
fixed intention, Lady Valentine was left with 
a bedroom to spare, and with no just or 
producible reason whatever for refusing her 
son's request that Evan Haselden might 
occupy it. This, perhaps, should, in the view 
of all true lovers, be regarded as an item on 
the credit side of the African chiefs' account, 
though in the hostess's eyes it aggravated their 
offence. Adela Ferrars, Mr Foster Belford and 
Tom Loring, who positively blessed the African 
chiefs, were the remaining guests. 

All parties cannot be successful, and, if truth 
be told, this of Lady Valentine's was no con- 
spicuous triumph. Belford and Loring quar- 
relled about Omofaga, for Loring feared (he 


used that word) that there might be a good 
deal in the German treaties, and Belford was 
loud-mouthed in declaring there could be no- 
thing. Marjory and her brother had 'a row 
because Marjory, on the Saturday afternoon, 
^ would not go out in the Canadian canoe with 
'fivan, but insisted on taking a walk with 
' M-r » Belford and hearing all about Omofaga. 
Finally, Adela and Tom Loring had a rather 
serious dissension because — well, just because 
Tom was so intolerably stupid and narrow- 
minded and rude. That was Adela's own 
account of it, given in her own words, which 
seems pretty good authority. 

The unfortunate discussion began with an 
expression of opinion from Tom. They were 
lounging very comfortably down stream in a 
broad-bottomed boat. It was a fine still even- 
ing and a lovely sunset. It was then most 
wanton of Tom — even although he couched 
his remark in a speciously general form — 
to say, 

' I wonder at fellows who spend their life 
worming money out of other people for wild- 
cat schemes instead of taking to some honest 

There was a pause. Then Adela fitted her 
glasses on her nose, and observed, with a care- 
ful imitation of Tom's forms of expression, 

' I wonder at fellows who drift through life 
in subordinate positions without the — the 
spunk — to try and do anything for them- 


' Women have no idea of honesty.' 

1 Men are such jealous creatures.' 

' I'm not jealous of him,' Tom blurted 

' Of who ? ' asked Adela. 

She was keeping the cooler of the pair. 

'Confound these beastly flies/ said Tom 
peevishly. There was a fly or two about, but 
Adela smiled in a superior way. ' I suppose 
I've some right to express an opinion/ con- 
tinued Tom. 'You know what I feel about 
the Dennisons, and — well, it's not only the 

' Oh ! the Valentines ? ' 

' Blow the Valentines ! ' said Tom, very un- 
gratefully, inasmuch as he sat in their boat and 
had eaten their bread. 

He bent over his sculls, and Adela looked 
at him with a doubtful little smile. She 
thought Tom Loring, on the whole, the best 
man she knew, the truest and loyalest ; but 
these qualities are not everything, and it 
seemed as if he meant to be secretary to 
Harry Dennison all his life. Of course he 
had no money, there was that excuse ; but 
to some men want of money is a reason, not 
for doing nothing, but for attempting every- 
thing ; it had struck Willie Ruston in that 
light. Therefore she was at times angry with 
Tom — and all the more angry the more she 
admired him. 

' You do me the honour to be anxious on my 
account ? ' she asked very stiffly. 


' He asked me how much money you had the 
other day.' 

' Oh, you're insufferable ; you really are. 
Do you always tell women that men care only 
for their money ? ' 
. ' It's not a bad thing to tell them when it's 

* I call this the very vulgarest dispute I was 
ever entrapped into.' 

' It's not my fault. It's— Hullo ! ' 

His attention was arrested by Lady Valen- 
tine's footman, who stood on the bank, calling 
' Mr Loring, sir,' and holding up a tele- 

' Thank goodness, we're interrupted,' said 
Adela. ' Row ashore, Mr Loring.' 

Loring obeyed, and took his despatch. It 
was from Harry Dennison, and he read it 

'Can you come up? News from Frank- 

' I must go,' said Tom. 

' Oh, yes. If you're not there, Mr Ruston 
will do something dreadful, won't he ? I 
should like to come too. News from Frank- 
fort would be more interesting than news 
from Mr Belford.' 

They parted without any approach towards 
a reconciliation. Tom was hopelessly sulky, 
Adela persistently flippant. The shadow of 
Omofaga lay heavy on Lady Valentine's 


party, and still shrouded Tom Loring on his 
way to town. 

The important despatch from Frankfort had 
come in cipher, and when Tom arrived in 
Curzon Street, he found Mr Carlin, who had 
been sent for to read it, just leaving the 
house. The men nodded to one another, and 
Carlin hastily exclaimed, 

1 You must reassure Dennison ! You can 
do it ! ' and leapt into a hansom. 

Tom smiled. If the progress of Omofaga 
depended on encouragement from him, Omo- 
faga would remain in primitive barbarism, 
though missionaries fell thick as the leaves in 

Harry Dennison was walking up and down 
the library ; his hair was roughened and his 
appearance indicative of much unrest ; his 
wife sat in an arm-chair, looking at him and 
listening to Lord Semingham, who, poising 
a cigarette between his fingers, was putting, 
or trying to put, a meaning to Ruston's 

' Position critical. Must act at once. Will 
you give me a free hand ? If not, wire how 
far I may go.' 

That was how it ran when faithfully in- 
terpreted by Mr Carlin. 

' You see,' observed Lord Semingham, ' it's 
clearly a matter of money.' 

Tom nodded. 


' Of course it is,' said he ; ' it's not likely 
to be a question of anything else.' 

• Therefore the Germans have something 
worth paying for,' continued Semingham. 

'Well,' amended Tom, 'something Ruston 
thinks it worth his while to pay for, any- 

: That is to say they have treaties touch- 
ing, or purporting to touch, Omofaga.' 

'And,' added Harry Dennison, who did 
not lack a certain business shrewdness, ' prob- 
ably their Government behind them to some 

Tom flung himself into a chair. 

'The thing's monstrous,' he pronounced. 
' Semingham and you, Dennison, are, besides 
himself — and he's got nothing — the only people 
responsible up to now. And he asks you 
to give him an unlimited credit without giv- 
ing you a word of information ! It's the 
coolest thing I ever heard of in all my life.' 

'Of course he means the Company to 
pay in the end,' Semingham reminded the 
hostile critic. 

' Time enough to talk of the Company 
when we see it,' retorted Tom, with an aggres- 
sive scepticism. 

' Position critical ! Hum. I suppose their 
treaties must be worth something,' pursued 
Semingham. ' Dennison, I can't be drained 
dry over this job.' 

Harry Dennison shook his head in a puzzled 


' Carlin says it's all right,' he remarked. 

' Of course he does ! ' exclaimed Tom im- 
patiently. " Two and two make five for him 
if Ruston says they do.' 

' Well, Tom, what's your advice ? ' asked 

'You must tell him to do nothing till he's 
seen you, or at least sent you full details of 
the position.' 

The two men nodded. Mrs Dennison rose 
from her chair, walked to the window, and 
stood looking out. 

' Loring just confirms what I thought,' said 

' He says he must act at once,' Harry re- 
minded them ; he was still wavering, and, as 
he spoke, he glanced uneasily at his wife; 
but there was nothing to show that she even 
heard the conversation. 

' Oh, he hates referring to anybody,' said 
Tom. ' He's to have a free hand, and you're 
to pay the bill. That's his programme, and a 
very pretty one it is — for him.' 

Tom's animus was apparent, and Lord 
Semingham laughed gently. 

' Still, you're right in substance,' he conceded 
when the laugh was ended, and as he spoke 
he drew a sheet of notepaper towards him 
and took up a pen. 

' We'd better settle just what to say,' he ob- 
served. ' Carlin will be back in half an hour, 
and we promised to have it ready for him. 
What you suggest seems all right, Loring.' 


Tom nodded. Harry Dennison stood stock- 
still for an instant, and then said, with a 

' I suppose so. He'll be furious — and I 
hope to God we sha'n't lose the whole 

Lord Semingham's pen-point was in actual 
touch with the paper before him, when Mrs 
Dennison suddenly turned round and faced 
them. She rested one hand on the window- 
sash, and held the other up in a gesture 
which demanded attention. 

' Are you really going to back out now ? ' 
she asked in a very quiet voice, but with 
an intonation of contempt that made all the 
three men raise their heads with the jerk of 
startled surprise. Lord Semingham checked 
the movement of his pen, and leant back 
in his chair, looking at her. Her face was 
a little flushed and she was breathing 

' My dear,' said Harry Dennison very apolo- 
getically, ' do you think you quite under- 
stand— ?' 

But Tom Loring's patience was exhausted. 
His interview with Adela left him little reserve 
of toleration ; and the discovery of another 
and even worse case of Rustomania utterly over- 
powered his discretion. 

' Mrs Dennison,' he said, ' wants us to de- 
liver ourselves, bound hand and foot, to this 

'Well, and if I do?' she demanded, turn- 


ing on him. ' Can't you even follow, when 
you've found a man who can lead ? ' 

And then, conscious perhaps of having been 
goaded to an excess of warmth by Tom's open 
scorn, she turned her face away. 

' Lead, yes ! Lead us to ruin ! ' exclaimed 

' You won't be ruined anyhow,' she retorted 
quickly, facing round on him again, reckless 
in her anger how she might wound him. 

' Tom's anxious for us, Maggie,' her husband 
reminded her, and he laid his hand on Tom 
Loring's shoulder. 

Tom's excitement was not to be soothed. 

1 Why are we all to be his instruments ? ' 
he demanded angrily. 

' I should be proud to be,' she said 

Her husband smiled in an uneasy effort 
after nonchalance, and Lord Semingham shot 
a quick glance at her out of his observant 

' I should be proud of a friend like you if 
I were Ruston,' he said gently, hoping to 
smooth matters a little. 

Mrs Dennison ignored his attempt. 

' Can't you see ? ' she asked. ' Can't you 
see that he's a man to — to do things ? It's 
enough for us if we can help him.' 

She had forgotten her embarrassment ; she 
spoke half in contempt, half in entreaty, wholly 
in an earnest urgency, that made her un- 
conscious of any strangeness in her zeal. Harry 


looked uncomfortable. Semingham with a sigh 
blew a cloud of smoke from his cigarette. 

Tom Loring sat silent. He stretched out 
his legs to their full length, rested the nape 
of his neck on the chair-back, and stared 
up at the ceiling. His attitude eloquently 
a*n«i most rudely asserted folly — almost lunacy 
— :.i Mrs Dennison. She noticed it and her 
eyes flashed, but she did not speak to him. 
She looked at Semingham and surprised an 
expression in his eyes that made her drop 
her own for an instant ; she knew very well 
what he was thinking — what a man like him 
would think. But she recovered herself and 
met his glance boldly. 

Harry Dennison sat down and slowly rubbed 
his brow with his handkerchief. Lord Seming- 
ham took up the pen and balanced it between 
his fingers. There was silence in the room 
for full three minutes. Then came a loud 
knock at the hall door. 

' It's Carlin,' said Harry Dennison. 

No one else spoke, and for another moment 
there was silence. The steps of the butler 
and the visitor were already audible in the 
hall when Lord Semingham, with his own 
shrug and his own smile, as though nothing 
in the world were worth so much dispute 
or so much bitterness, said to Dennison, 

'Hang it! Shall we chance it, Harry?' 

Mrs Dennison made one swift step forward 
towards him, her face all alight ; but she 
stopped before she reached the table and 


turned to her husband. At the moment 
Carlin was announced. He entered with a 
rush of eagerness. Tom Loring did not 
move. Semingham wrote on his paper, — 

1 Use your discretion, but make every effort 
to keep down expenses. Wire progress.' 

1 Will that do ? ' he asked, handing the 
paper to Harry Dennison and leaning back 
with a smile on his face ; and, though he 
handed the paper to Harry, he looked at 
Mrs Dennison. 

Mrs Dennison was standing by her husband 
now, her arm through his. As he read she 
read also. Then she took the paper from 
his yielding hand and came and bent over 
the table, shoulder to shoulder with Lord 
Semingham. Taking the pen from his fingers, 
she dipped it in the ink, and with a firm 
dash erased all save the first three words 
of the message. This done, she looked round 
into Semingham's face with a smile of 

' Well, it'll be cheap to send anyhow,' said he. 

He got up and motioned Carlin to take his 

Mrs Dennison walked back to the window, 
and he followed her there. They heard Carlin's 
cry of delight, and Harry Dennison beginning 
to make excuses and trying to find business 
reasons for what had been done. Suddenly 
Tom Loring leapt to his feet and strode swiftly 


out of the room, slamming the door behind 
him. Mrs Dennison heard the sound with a 
smile of content. She seemed to have no mis- 
givings and no regrets. 

( Really,' said Lord Semingham, sticking his 
eyeglass in his eye and regarding her closely, 
' you ought to be the Queen of Omofaga.' 

With her slim fingers she began to drum 
gently on the window-pane. 

' I think there's a king already,' she said, 
looking out into the street. 

' Oh, yes, a king,' he answered with a laugh. 

Mrs Dennison looked round. He did not stop 
laughing, and presently she laughed just a 
little herself. 

' Oh, of course, it's always that in a woman, 
isn't it ? ' she asked sarcastically. 

' Generally,' he answered, unashamed. 

She grew grave, and looked in his face almost 
— so it seemed to him — as though she sought 
there an answer to something that puzzled her. 
He gave her none. She sighed and drummed 
on the window again ; then she turned to him 
with a sudden bright smile. 

' I don't care ; I'm glad I did it,' she said 



PROBABLY no one is always wrong ; at 
anyrate, Mr Otto Heather was right now 
and then, and he had hit the mark when 
he accused Willie Ruston of ' commercialism.' 
But he went astray when he concluded, per 
saltum, that the object of his antipathy was a 
money-grubbing, profit-snatching, upper-hand- 
getting machine, and nothing else in the world. 
Probably, again, no one ever was. Ruston had 
not only feelings, but also what many people 
consider a later development — a conscience. 
And, whatever the springs on which his con- 
science moved, it acted as a restraint upon him. 
Both his feelings and his conscience would have 
told him that it would not do for him to delude 
his friends or the public with a scheme which 
was a fraud. He would have delivered this 
inner verdict in calm and temperate terms ; it 
would have been accompanied by no disgust, 
no remorse, no revulsion at the idea having 
made its way into his mind ; it was just that, 
on the whole, such a thing wouldn't do. The 
vagueness of the phrase faithfully embodied 



the spirit of the decision, for whether it 
wouldn't do, because it was in itself unseemly, 
or merely because, if found out, it would look 
unseemly, was precisely one of those curious 
points with which Mr Ruston's practical intel- 
lect declined to trouble itself. If Omofaga 
L^d been a fraud, then Ruston would have 
vvhisfcled it down the wind. But Omofaga was 
no fraud — in his hands at least no fraud. 
For, while he believed in Omofaga to a cer- 
tain extent, Willie Ruston believed in him- 
self to an indefinite, perhaps an infinite, ex- 
tent. He thought Omofaga a fair security for 
anyone's money, but himself a superb one. 
Omofaga without him — or other people's Omo- 
fagas — might be a promising speculation ; add 
him, and Omofaga became a certainty. It will 
be seen, then, that Mr Heather's inspiration had 
soon failed — unless, that is, machines can see 
visions and dream dreams, and melt down hard 
facts in crucibles heated to seven times in the 
fires of imagination. But a man may do all 
this, and yet not be the passive victim of his 
dreams and imaginings. The old buccaneers 
— and Adela Ferrars had thought Ruston a 
buccaneer modernised — dreamt, but they sailed 
and fought too ; and they sailed and fought 
and won because they dreamt. And if many 
of their dreams were tinted with the gleam of 
gold, they were none the less powerful and 
alluring for that. 

Ruston had laid the whole position before 
Baron von Geltschmidt of Frankfort, with 


— as it seemed — the utmost candour. He 
and his friends were not deeply committed 
in the matter ; there was, as yet, only a 
small syndicate ; of course they had paid 
something for their rights, but, as the Baron 
knew (and Willie's tone emphasised the fact 
that he must know), the actual sums paid 
out of pocket in these cases were not of 
staggering magnitude ; no company was formed 
yet ; none would be, unless all went smoothly. If 
the Baron and his friends were sure of their 
ground, and preferred to go on — why, he and 
his friends were not eager to commit themselves 
to a long and arduous contest. There must, 
he supposed, be a give-and-take between them. 

' It looks,' he said, ' as far as I can judge, as 
if either we should have to buy you out, or 
you would have to buy us out.' 

'Perhaps,' suggested the Baron, blinking 
lazily behind his gold spectacles, ' we could get 
rid of you without buying you out.' 

1 Oh, if you drove us to it, by refusing to 
treat, we should have a shot at that too, of 
course,' laughed Willie Ruston, swallowing a 
glass of white wine. The Baron had asked 
him to discuss the matter over luncheon. 

' It seems to me,' observed the Baron, lighting 
a cigar, 'that people are rather cold about 
speculations just now.' 

' I should think so ; but this is not a 
speculation ; it's a certainty.' 

' Why do you tell me that, when you want 
to get rid of me ? ' 


1 Because you won't believe it. Wasn't that 
Bismarck's way ? ' 

'You are not Bismarck — and a certainty is 
what the public thinks one.' 

' Is that philosophy or finance ? ' asked 
Ruston, laughing again. 

The Baron, who had in his day loved both 
the subjects referred to, drank a glass of wine 
and chuckled as he delivered himself of the 
following doctrine : — 

■ What the public thinks a certainty, is a 
certainty for the public — that would be philo- 
sophy, eh ? ' 

' I believe so. I never read much, and your 
extract doesn't raise my idea of its value.' 

' But what the public thinks a certainty, is 
a certainty — for the promotors — that is finance. 
You see the difference is simple.' 

1 And the distinction luminous. This, Baron, 
seems to be the age of finance.' 

'Ah, well, there are still honest men/ said 
the Baron, with the optimism of age. 

' Yes, I'm one — and you're another.' 

' I'm much obliged. You've been in Omo- 
faga ? * 

' Oh, yes. And you haven't, Baron.' 

' Friends of mine have.' 

' Yes. They came just after I left' 

The Baron knew that this statement was 
true. As his study of Willie Ruston progressed, 
he became inclined to think that it might be 
important. Mere right (so far as such a thing 
could be given by prior treaties) was not of much 


moment ; but right and Ruston together might 
be formidable. Now the Baron (and his friends 
were friends much in the way, mutatis mutandis, 
that Mr Wagg and Mr Wenham were friends 
of the Marquis of Steyne, and may therefore 
drop out of consideration) was old and rich, 
and, by consequence, at a great disadvantage 
with a man who was young and poor. 

1 1 don't see the bearing of that,' he observed, 
having paused for a moment to consider all its 

1 It means that you can't have Omofaga,' 
said Willie Ruston. ' You were too late, you 

The Baron smoked and drank and laughed. 

1 You're a young fool, my boy — or something 
quite different,' said he, laying a hand on his 
companion's arm. Then he asked suddenly, — 
1 What about Dennisons ? ' 

' They're behind me if — 

« Well ? ' 

' If you're not in front of me.' 

' But if I am, my son ? ' asked the Baron, 
almost caressingly. 

'Then I leave for Omofaga by the next 

'Eh! And for what?' 

' Never mind what. You'll find out when 
you come.' 

The Baron sighed and tugged his beard. 

'You English!' said he. ' Your Government 
won't help you.' 

' Damn my Government' 


I You English ! ' said the Baron again, his 
tone struggling between admiration and a sort 
of oppression, while his face wore the look a 
man has who sees another push in front of 
him in a crowd, and wonders how the fellow 
works his way through. 

There was a long pause. Ruston lit his pipe, 
and, crossing his arms on his breast, blinked 
at the sun ; the Baron puffed away, shooting 
a glance now and then at his young friend 
then he asked, 

' Well, my boy, what do you offer ? ' 

' Shares,' answered Ruston composedly. 

The Baron laughed. The impudence of the 
offer pleased him. 

' Yes, shares, of course. And besides ? ' 

Willie Ruston turned to him. 

I I sha'n't haggle,' he announced. ' I'll make 
you one offer, Baron, and it's an uncommon 
handsome offer for a trunk of waste paper.' 

1 What's the offer ? ' asked the Baron, smiling 
with rich subdued mirth. 

' Fifty thousand down, and the same in shares 
fully paid.' 

' Not enough, my son.' 

'All right,' and Mr Ruston rose. 'Much 
obliged for your hospitality, Baron,' he added, 
holding out his hand. 

' Where are you going ? ' asked the Baron. 

1 Omofaga — via London.' 

The Baron caught him by the arm, and 
whispered in his ear, 

1 There's not so much in it, first and last' 


1 Oh, isn't there ? Then why don't you take 
the offer ? ' 

' Is it your money?' 

' It's good money. Come, Baron, you've 
always liked the safe side,' and Willie smiled 
down upon his host. 

The Baron positively started. This young 
man stood over him and told him calmly, 
face-to-face, the secret of his life. It was true. 
How he had envied men of real nerve, of faith, 
of daring ! But he had always liked the safe 
side. Hence he was very rich — and a rather 
weary old man. 

Two days later, Willie Ruston took a cab 
from Lord Semingham's, and drove to Curzon 
Street. He arrived at twelve o'clock in the 
morning. Harry Dennison had gone to a 
Committee at the House. The butler had just 
told him so, when a voice cried from within, 

' Is it you, Mr Ruston ? ' 

Mrs Dennison was standing in the hall. He 
went in, and followed her into the library. 

1 Well ? ' she asked, standing by the table, and 
wasting no time in formal greetings. 

1 Oh, it's all right,' said he. 

' You got my telegram ? ' 

1 Your telegram, Mrs Dennison ? ' said he with 
a smile. 

' I mean — the telegram,' she corrected herself, 
smiling in her turn. 

'Oh, yes,' said Ruston, and he took a step 
towards her. ' I've seen Lord Semingham,' he 


'Yes? And these horrid Germans are out 
of the way ? ' 

' Yes ; and Semingham is letting his shooting 
this year.' 

She laughed, and glanced at him as she 

1 Then it cost a great deal ? ' 

■■ Fifty thousand ! ' 

' Oh, then we can't take Lord Semingham's 
shooting, or anybody else's. Poor Harry ! ' 

' He doesn't know yet' 

'Aren't you almost afraid to tell him, Mr 

' Aren't you, Mrs Dennison ? ' 

He smiled as he asked, and Mrs Dennison 
lifted her eyes to his, and let them dwell there. 

' Why did you do it ? ' he asked. 

' Will the money be lost ? ' 

' Oh, I hope not ; but money's always un- 

1 The thing's not uncertain ? ' 

' No ; the thing's certain now.' 

She sat down with a sigh of satisfaction, and 
passed her hand over her broad brow. 

'Why did you do it?' Ruston repeated, and 
she laughed nervously. 

' I hate going back/ she said, twisting her 
hands in her lap. 

He had asked her the question which she 
had been asking herself without response. 

He sat down opposite her, flinging his soft 
cloth hat — for he had not been home since his 
arrival in London — on the table. 


1 What a bad hat ! ' said Mrs Dennison, touch- 
ing it with the end of a forefinger. 

' It's done a journey through Omofaga.' 

' Ah ! ' she laughed gently. ' Dear old hat ! ' 

' Thanks to you, it'll do another soon.' 

Mrs Dennison sat up straight in her chair. 

' You hope — ? ' she began. 

' To be on my way in six months,' he 
answered in solid satisfaction. 

' And for long ? ' 

' It must take time.' 

' What must ? ' 

' My work there." 

She rose and walked to the window, as she 
had when she was about to send the telegram. 
Now also she was breathing quickly, and the 
flush, once so rare on her cheeks, was there 

'And we,' she said in a low voice, looking 
out of the window, 'shall just hear of you 
once a year ? ' 

' We shall have regular mails in no time,' said 
he. ' Once a year, indeed ! Once a month, 
Mrs Dennison ! ' 

With a curious laugh, she dashed the blind- 
tassel against the window. It was not for 
the sake of hearing of her that he wanted the 
mails. With a sudden impulse she crossed the 
room and stood opposite him. 

' Do you care that' she asked, snapping her 
fingers, 'for any soul alive? You're delighted 
to leave us all and go to Omofaga ! ' 

Willie Ruston seemed not to hear ; he was 


mentally organising the mail service from 

' I beg pardon ? ' he said, after a perceptible 

' Oh ! ' cried Maggie Dennison, and at last her 
tone caught his attention. 

He looked up with a wrinkle of surprise on 
Iris biow. 

' Why,' said he, ' I believe you're angry about 
something. You look just as you did on — 
on the memorable occasion.' 

'Oh, we aren't all Carlins!' she exclaimed, 
carried away by her feelings. 

The least she had expected from him was 
grateful thanks ; a homage tinged with ad- 
miration was, in truth, no more than her due ; 
if she had been an ugly dull woman, yet she 
had done him a great service, and she was 
not an ugly dull woman. But then neither 
was she Omofaga. 

1 If everybody was as good a fellow as old 
Carlin — ' began Willie Ruston. 

' If everybody was as useful and docile, you 
mean ; as good a tool for you — ' 

At last it was too plain to be missed. 

' Hullo ! ' he exclaimed. ' What are you 
pitching into me for, Mrs Dennison?' 

His words were ordinary enough, but at last 
he was looking at her, and the mails of Omo- 
faga were for a moment forgotten. 

' I wish I'd never made them send the 
wretched telegram,' she flashed out passion- 
ately. 'Much thanks I get!' 


' You shall have a statue in the chief street 
of the chief town of — ' 

' How dare you ! I'm not a girl to be 

The tears were standing in her eyes, as she 
threw herself back in a chair. Willie Ruston 
got up and stood by her. 

1 You'll be proud of that telegram some day,' 
he said, rather as though he felt bound to 
pay her a compliment. 

• Oh, you think that now ? ' she said, un- 
convinced of his sincerity. 

1 Yes. Though was it very difficult ? ' he 
asked with a sudden change of tone most 
depreciatory of her exploit. 

She glanced at him and smiled joyfully. 
She liked the depreciation better than the 

' Not a bit,' she whispered, ' for me.' 

He laughed slightly, and shut his lips close 
again. He began to understand Mrs Dennison 

' Still, though it was easy for you, it was 
precious valuable to me,' he observed. 

' And how you hate being obliged to me, 
don't you ? ' 

He perceived that she understood him a 
little, but he smiled again as he asked, 

' Oh, but what made you do it, you know ? ' 

'You mean you did? Mr Ruston, I should 
like to see you at work in Omofaga.' 

1 Oh, a very humdrum business,' said he, with 
a shrug. 


' You'll have soldiers ? ' 

' We shall call 'em police,' he corrected, 

1 Yes ; but they keep everybody down, and — 
and do as you order ? ' 

' If not, I shall ask 'em why.' 

' A.nd the natives ? ' 

' Civilise 'em.' 

' You — you'll be governor ? ' 

' Oh, dear, no. Local administrator.' 

She laughed in his face ; and a grim smile 
from him seemed to justify her. 

' I'm glad I sent the telegram,' she half 
whispered, lying back in the chair and looking 
up at him. ' I shall have had something to 
do with all that, sha'n't I ? Do you want any 
more money ? ' 

1 Look here,' said Willie Ruston, ' Omofaga's 
mine. I'll find you another place, if you like, 
when I've put this job through.' 

A luxury of pleasure rippled through her 
laugh. She darted out her hand and caught 

' No. I like Omofaga too ! ' she said, and 
as she said it, the door suddenly opened, and 
in walked Tom Loring — that is to say — in Tom 
Loring was about to walk ; but when he saw 
what he did see, he stood still for a moment, 
and then, without a single word, either of 
greeting or apology, he turned his back, 
walked out again, and shut the door behind 
him. His entrance and exit were so quick 
and sudden, that Mrs Dennison had hardly 


dropped Willie Ruston's hand before he was 
gone ; she had certainly not dropped it before 
he came. 

Willie Ruston sat down squarely in a chair. 
Mrs Dennison's hot mood had been suddenly 
cooled. She would not ask him to go, but 
she glanced at the hat that had been through 
Omofaga. He detected her. 

* I shall stay ten minutes,' he observed. 

She understood and nodded assent Very 
little was said during the ten minutes. Mrs 
Dennison seemed tired ; her eyes dropped 
towards the ground, and she reclined in her 
chair. Ruston was frowning and thrumming 
at intervals on the table. But presently his 
brow cleared and he smiled. Mrs Dennison 
saw him from under her drooping lids. 

' Well ? ' she asked in a petulant tone. 

' I believe you were going to fight me for 

' I don't know what I was doing.' 

'Is that fellow a fool?' 

1 He's a much better man than you'll ever 
be, Mr Ruston. Really you might go now.' 

'All right, I will. I'm going down to the 
city to see your husband and Carlin.' 

' I'm afraid I've wasted your time.' 

She spoke with a bitterness which seemed 
impossible to miss. But he appeared to miss 

' Oh, not a bit, really,' he assured her 
anxiously. 'Good-bye,' he added, holding out 
his hand. 


'Good-bye. I've shaken hands once.' 

He waited a moment to see if she would 
speak again, but she said nothing. So he 
left her. 

As he called a hansom, Mrs Cormack was 
leaning over her balcony. She took a little 
jewelled watch out of her pocket and looked 
at if. 

1 An hour and a quarter ! ' she cried. ' And 
I know the poor man isn't at home ! ' 



Queen's Gate, in company with her 
aunt, Mrs Topham. Mrs Topham's 
husband had been the younger son of a peer of 
ancient descent ; and a practised observer might 
almost have detected the fact in her manner, 
for she took her station in this life as 
seriously as her position in the next, and, in 
virtue of it, assumed a responsibility for the 
morals of her inferiors which betrayed a 
considerable confidence in her own. But she 
was a good woman, and a widow of the 
pattern most opposite to that of Mrs Cor- 
mack. She dwelt more truly in the grave 
of her husband than in Queen's Gate, and 
permitted herself no recreations except such 
as may privily creep into religious exercises 
and the ministrations of favourite clergymen ; 
and it is pleasant to think that she was very 
happy. As may be supposed, however, Adela 
(who was a good woman in quite another 
way, and therefore less congenial with her 



aunt than any mere sinner could have been) 
and Mrs Topham saw very little of one 
another, and would not have thought of living 
together unless each had been able to supply 
what the other wanted. Adela found money 
for the house, and Mrs Topham lent the 
shelter of her name to her niece's unprotected 
condition. There were separate sitting-rooms 
for the two ladies, and, if rumour were true 
(which, after all, it usually is not), a separate 
staircase for the clergy. 

Adela was in her drawing-room one after- 
noon when Lord Semingham was announced. 
He appeared to be very warm, and he carried 
a bundle of papers in his hand. Among the 
papers there was one of those little smooth 
white volumes which epitomise so much of 
the joy and sorrow of this transitory life. 
He gave himself a shake, as he sat down, 
and held up the book. 

1 The car has begun to move,' he observed. 

' Juggernaut's?' 

' Yes ; and I have been to see my bankers. 
I take a trip to the seaside instead of a 
moor this year, and have let my own pheasant 

He paused and added, 

' Dennison has not taken my shooting. 
They go to the seaside too — with the 

He paused again and concluded, 

1 The Omofaga prospectus will be out to- 


Adela laughed. 

'Bessie is really quite annoyed,' remarked 
Lord Semingham. ' I have seldom seen her 
so perturbed — but I've sent Ruston to talk 
to her.' 

' And why did you do it ? ' asked Adela. 

' I should like to tell you a little history,' 
said he. 

And he told her how Mrs Dennison had 
sent a telegram to Frankfort. This history 
was long, for Lord Semingham told it drama- 
tically, as though he enjoyed its quality. Yet 
Adela made no comment beyond asking, 

' And wasn't she right ? ' 

1 Oh, for the Empire perhaps — for us, it means 
trips to the seaside.' 

He drew his chair a little nearer hers, and 
dropped his affectation of comic plaintiveness. 

'A most disgusting thing has happened in 
Curzon Street,' he said. ' Have you heard ? ' 

1 No ; I've seen nothing of Maggie lately. 
You've all been buried in Omofaga.' 

' Hush ! No words of ill-omen, please ! 
Well, it's annoyed me immensely. I can't 
think what the foolish fellow means. Tom 
Loring's going.' 

1 Tom — Loring — going ? ' she exclaimed with a 
punctuated pause between every word. ' What 
in the world for ? ' 

' What is the ultimate cause of everything 
that happens to us now?' he asked, sticking 
his glass in his eye. 

Adela felt as though she were playing at 


some absurd game of questions and answers, 
and must make her reply according to the 

' Oh, Mr Ruston ! ' she said, with a grimace. 

Her visitor nodded — as though he had been 
answered according to the rules. 

Tom broke out in the most extraordinary 
manner. He said he couldn't stay with 
Dennison, if Dennison let Ruston lead him by 
the nose {ipsissima verba, my dear Adela), and 
told Ruston to his face that he came for no 

' Were you there ? ' 

' Yes. The man seemed to choose the most 
public opportunity. Did you ever hear such a 

' He's mad about Mr Ruston. He talked just 
the same way to me. What did Harry Dennison 
say ? ' 

1 Harry went up to him and took his hand, 
and shook it, and, you know old Harry's way, 
tried to smooth it all down, and get them to 
shake hands. Then Ruston got up and said 
he'd go and leave them to settle it between Tom 
and him. Oh, Ruston behaved very well. 
It was uncommonly awkward for him, you 

' Yes ; and when he'd gone ? ' 

' Harry told Tom that he must keep his 
engagements ; but that, sooner than lose him, 
he'd go no deeper. That was pretty handsome, 
I thought, but it didn't suit Tom. " I can't stay 
in the house while that fellow comes," he said.' 


* While he comes to tne house ? ' cried Adela. 

Lord Semingham nodded. 'You've hit the 
point,' he seemed to say, and he went on, 

' And then they both turned and looked at 
Maggie Dennison. She'd been sitting there 
without speaking a single word the whole time. 
I couldn't go — Harry wouldn't let me — so I got 
into a corner and looked at the photograph 
book. I felt rather an ass, between ourselves, 
you know.' 

' And what did Maggie say ? ' 

1 Harry was looking as puzzled as an owl, 
and Tom as obstinate as a toad, and both 
stared at her. She looked first at Harry, and 
then at Tom, and smiled in that quiet way of 
hers. By the way, I never feel that I quite 
understand — ' 

' Oh, never mind ! Of course you don't. Go 

' And then she said, " What a fuss ! I hope 
that after all this Omofaga business is over 
Mr Loring will come back to us." Pretty 
straight for Tom, eh ? He turned crimson, 
and walked right out of the room, and she 
sat down at the piano and began to play 
some infernal tune, and that soft-hearted 
old baby, Harry, blew his nose, and damned 
the draught' 

' And he's going ? ' 

' Yes.' 

' But,' she broke out, ' how can he ? He's 
got no money. What'll he live on ? ' 

' Harry offered him as much as he wanted ; 


but ne said he had some savings, and wouldn't 
take a farthing. He said he'd write for papers, 
or some such stuff.' 

1 He's been with the Dennisons ever since — 
oh, years and years ! Can't you take him ? He'd 
be awfully useful to you.' 

1 My dear girl, I can't offer charity to Tom 
Loring,' said Semingham, and he added quickly, 
' No more can you, you know.' 

' I quarrelled with him desperately a week 
ago,' said she mournfully. 

' About Ruston ? ' 

' Oh, yes. About Mr Ruston, of course.' 

Lord Semingham whistled gently, and, after 
a pause, Adela leant forward and asked, 

' Do you feel quite comfortable about it ? ' 

' Hang it, no ! But I'm too deep in. I hope 
to heaven the public will swallow it ! ' 

' I didn't mean your wretched Company.' 

' Oh, you didn't ? ' 

' No ; I meant Curzon Street.' 

' It hardly lies in my mouth to blame 
Dennison, or his wife either. If they've been 
foolish, so have I.' Adela looked at him as 
if she thought him profoundly unsatisfactory. 
He was vaguely conscious of her deprecia- 
tion, and added, 'Ruston's not a rogue, you 

' No. If I thought he was, I shouldn't be 
going to take shares in Omofaga.' 

1 You're not ? ' 

' Oh, but lam!' 

' Another spinster lady on my conscience ! 


I shall certainly end in the dock ! ' Lord Sem- 
ingham took his hat and shook hands. Just as 
he got to the door, he turned round, and, with 
an expression of deprecating helplessness, fired 
a last shot. ' Ruston came to see Bessie the 
other day,' he said. ' The new mantle she's just 
invented is to be called — the Omofaga ! That 
is, unless she changes it because of the moor. 
I suggested the Pis-aller, but she didn't see it. 
She never does, you know. Good-bye.' 

The moment he was gone, Adela put on her 
hat and drove to Curzon Street. She found 
Mrs Dennison alone, and opened fire at once. 

' What have you done, Maggie ? ' she cried, 
flinging her gloves on the table and facing her 
friend with accusing countenance. 

Mrs Dennison was smelling a rose ; she smelt 
it a little longer, and then replied with another 

' Why can't men hate quietly ? They must 
make a fuss. I can go on hating a woman for 
years and never show it.' 

' We have the vices of servility,' said Adela. 

' Harry is a melancholy sight,' resumed Mrs 
Dennison. ' He spends his time looking for the 
blotting-paper ; Tom Loring used to keep it, 
you know.' 

Her tone deepened the expression of dis- 
approval on Adela's face. 

' I've never been so distressed about anything 
in my life,' said she. 

' Oh, my dear, he'll come back.' As she spoke 
a sudden mischievous smile spread over her 


face. ' You should hear Berthe Cormack on it ! ' 
she said. 

4 1 don't want to hear Mrs Cormack at all. 
I hate the woman — and I think that I — at any 
rate — show it' 

It surprised Adela to find her friend in such 
excellent spirits. The air of listlessness, which 
was apt to mar her manner, and even to some 
degree her appearance (for to look bored is not 
becoming), had entirely vanished. 

'You don't seem very sorry about poor Mr 
Loring,' Adela observed. 

' Oh, I am ; but Mr Loring can't stop the 
wheels of the world. And it's his own fault.' 

Adela sighed. It did not seem of conse- 
quence whose fault it was. 

' I don't think I care much about the wheels 
of the world,' she said. ' How are the children, 
Maggie ? ' 

1 Oh, splendid, and in great glee about the 
seaside ' — and Mrs Dennison laughed. 

' And about losing Tom Loring ? ' 

' They cried at first' 

' Does anyone ever do anything more than 
" cry at first ? " ' exclaimed Adela. 

' Oh, my dear, don't be tragical, or cynical, 
or whatever you are being,' said Maggie 
pettishly. ' Mr Loring has chosen to be very 
silly, and there's an end of it. Have you seen 
the prospectus ? Do you know Mr Ruston 
brought it to show me before it was sub- 
mitted to Mr Belford and the others — the 
Board, I mean?' 


1 1 think you see quite enough of Mr Ruston,' 
said Adela, putting up her glass and examin- 
ing Mrs Dennison closely. She spoke coolly, 
but with a nervous knowledge of her presump- 

Mrs Dennison may have had a taste for 
diplomacy and the other arts of government, 
but she was no diplomatist. She thought her- 
self gravely wronged by Adela's suggestion, and 
burst out angrily, 

' Oh, you've been listening to Tom Loring ! ' 
and her heightened colour seemed not to agree 
with the idea that, if Adela had listened, Tom 
had talked of nothing but Omofaga. ' I don't 
mind it from Berthe,' Mrs Dennison continued, 
' but from you it's too bad. I suppose he 
told you the whole thing? I declare I wasn't 
dreaming of anything of the kind ; I was just 
excited, and — ' 

' I haven't seen Mr Loring,' put in Adela as 
soon as she could. 

' Then how do you know — ? ' 

' Lord Semingham told me you quarrelled 
with Mr Loring about Omofaga.' 

* Is that all ? ' 

' Yes. Maggie, was there any more ? ' 

' Do you want to quarrel with me too ? ' 

' I believe Mr Loring had good reasons.' 

'You must believe what you like,' said Mrs 
Dennison, tearing her rose to pieces. 'Yes, 
there was some more.' 

' What ? ' asked Adela, expecting to be told 
to mind her own business. 


Mrs Dennison flung away the rose and began 
to laugh. 

I He found me holding Willie Ruston's hand 
and telling him I — liked Omofaga ! That's 

' Holding his hand ! ' exclaimed Adela, justi- 
fiably scandalised and hopelessly puzzled. 
' What did you do that for ? ' 

I I don't know,' said Mrs Dennison. ' It 
happened somehow as we were talking. We 
got interested, you know.' 

Adela's next question was also one at which 
it was possible to take offence ; but she was 
careless now whether offence were taken or 

4 Are you and the children going to the sea- 
side soon ? ' 

' Oh, yes,' rejoined her friend, still smiling. 
'We shall soon be deep in pails and spades 
and bathing, and buckets and paddling, and 
a final charming walk with Harry in the 

As the sentence went on, the smile became 
more fixed and less pleasant 

1 You ought to be ashamed to talk like that,' 
said Adela. 

Mrs Dennison walked up the room and down 

' So I am,' she said, pausing to look down 
on Adela, and then resuming her walk. 

' I wish to goodness this Omofaga affair — 
yes, and Mr Ruston too — had never been in- 
vented. It seems to set us all wrong.' 


• Wrong ! ' cried Mrs Dennison. ' Oh, yes, 
if it's wrong to have something one can take 
a little interest in ! ' 

' You're hopeless to-day, Maggie. I shall 
go away. What did you take his hand 

' Nothing. I tell you I was excited.' 

1 Well, I think he's a man one ought to keep 
cool with.' 

'Oh, he's cool enough. He'll keep vou 

' But he didn't—' 

'Oh, don't — pray don't!' cried Mrs Denni- 

Adela took her leave; and, as luck would 
have it, opened the door just as Tom Loring 
was walking downstairs with an enormous load 
of dusty papers in his hands. She pulled 
the door close behind her hastily, exclaim- 

' Why, I thought you'd gone ! ' 

' So you've heard ? I'm just putting things 
ship-shape. I go this evening.' 

' Well, I'm sorry — still, for your sake, I'm 

' Why ? ' 

' You may do something on your own account 

' I don't want to do anything,' said Tom 

' Come and see me some day. I've forgiven 
you, you know.' 

« So I will.' 


•Mr Loring, are you going to say good-bye 
to Maggie ? ' 

' I don't know. I suppose so.' Then he 
added, detecting Adela's unexpressed hope, 
'Oh, it's not a bit of use, you know.' 

' Adela passed on, and, later, Loring, having 
finished his work and being about to go, sought 
out Mrs Dennison. 

'You're determined to go, are you?' she 
asked, with the air of one who surrenders 
before an inexplicable whim. 

1 Yes,' said Tom. ' You know I must go.' 

1 Why ? ' 

1 I'm not a saint — nor a rogue ; if I were either, 
I might stay.' 

'Or even if you were a sensible man,' sug- 
gested Maggie Dennison. 

'Being merely an honest man, I think I'll 
go. I've tried to put all Harry's things right 
for him, and to make it as easy for him to get 
along as I can.' 

'Can he find his papers and blue-books and 

' Oh, yes ; and I got abstracts ready on all the 
things he cares about' 

' He'll miss you horribly. Ah, well ! ' 

' I suppose a little ; but, really, I think he'll 
learn to get along — ' 

Mrs Dennison interrupted with a laugh. 

' Do you know,' she asked, ' what you re- 
mind me of? Why, of a husband and wife 
separating, and wondering whether the chil- 
dren will miss poor papa — though poor papa 


insists on going, and mamma is sure he 

' I never mentioned the children,' said Tom 

1 1 know you didn't' 

Tom looked at her for an instant. 

' For God's sake,' said he, ' don't let him see 
that ! ' 

• Oh, how you twist things ! ' she cried in im- 
patient protest. 

Tom only shook his head. The charge was 
not sincere. 

' Good-bye, Tom,' she went on after a pause. 
• I believe, someday or other, you'll come back 
— or, at anyrate, come and live next door — 
instead of Berthe Cormack, you know. But 
1 don't know in what state you'll find us.' 

' I'd just like to tell you one thing, if I 
may,' said Tom, resolutely refusing to meet the 
softened look in her eyes with any answering 

' Yes ? ' 

'You've got one of the best fellows in the 
world for a husband.' 

'Well, I know that, I suppose, at least as 
well as you do.' 

' That's all. Good-bye.' 

Without more he left her. She drew the 
window-curtain aside and watched him get 
into his cab and be driven away. The house 
was very still. Her husband was in his place 
at Westminster, and the children had gone to 
a party. She went upstairs to the nursery, 


hoping to find something to criticise; then to 
Harry's dressing-room, where she filled his 
pin-cushion with pins and put fresh water to 
the flowers in the vase. She could find no 
other offices of wife or mother to do, and she 
presently found herself looking into Tom's 
loom, which was very bare and desolate, 
stripped of the homelike growth of a five 
years' tenancy. Her excitement was over ; she 
felt terribly like a child after a tantrum ; she 
flung open the window of the room and stood 
listening to the noise of the town. It was the 
noise of happy people, who had plenty to do ; 
or of happier still, who did not want to do 
anything, and thus found content. She turned 
away and walked downstairs with a step as 
heavy as physical weariness brings with it. 
It came as a curious aggravation — light itself, 
but gaining weight from its surroundings — that, 
for once in a way, she had no engagements 
that evening. All the tide seemed to be flow- 
ing by, leaving her behind high and dry on 
the shore. Even the children had their party, 
even Harry his toy at Westminster ; and Willie 
Ruston was working might and main to give a 
good start to Omofaga. Only of her had the 
world no need — and no heed. 



HAD Lord Semingham and Harry Denni- 
son taken an opportunity which many 
persons would have thought that they 
had a right to take, they might have shifted the 
burden of the Baron's douceur and of sundry 
other not trifling expenses on to the shoulders 
of the public, and enjoyed their moors that year 
after all ; for at the beginning Omofaga ob- 
tained such a moderate and reasonable ' boom ' 
as would have enabled them to perform the 
operation known as ' unloading ' (and literary 
men must often admire the terse and condensed 
expressiveness of ' City ' metaphors) with much 
profit to themselves. But either they conceived 
this course of conduct to be beneath them, or 
they were so firm of faith in Mr Ruston that 
they stood to their guns and their shares, and 
took their seats at the Board, over which Mr 
Foster Belford magniloquently presided, still 
possessed of the strongest personal interest in 
the success of Omofaga. Lady Semingham, 
having been made aware that Omofaga shares 



were selling at forty shillings apiece, was quite 
unable to understand why Alfred and Mr Den- 
nison did not sell all they had, and thereby pro- 
cure moors or whatever else they wanted. Willie 
Ruston had to be sent for again, and when he told 
Wr that the same shares would shortly be worth 
fti e -pounds (which he did with the most perfect 
confidence), she was equally at a loss to see why 
they were on sale to anybody who chose to pay 
forty shillings. Ruston, who liked to make 
everybody a convert to his own point of view, 
spent the best part of an afternoon conversing 
with the little lady, but, when he came away, he 
left her placidly admiring the Omofaga mantle 
which had just arrived from the milliner's, and 
promised to create an immense sensation. 

1 1 believe she's all gown,' said he despairingly, 
at the Valentines in the evening. ' If you un- 
dressed her there'd be no one there.' 

* Well, there oughtn't to be many people,' said 
young Sir Walter, with a hearty laugh at his 
boyish joke. 

' Walter, how can you ! ' cried Marjory. 

This little conversation, trivial though it be, 
has its importance, as indicating the very re- 
markable change which had occurred in young 
Sir Walter. There at least Ruston had made a 
notable convert, and he had effected this result 
by the simple but audacious device of offering 
to take Sir Walter with him to Omofaga. Sir 
Walter was dazzled. Between spending another 
year or two at Oxford in statu pupillari, vexed by 
schools and disciplined by proctors — between 


being required to be in by twelve at night and 
unable to visit London without permission — be- 
tween this unfledged state and the position of a 
man among the men who were in the vanguard 
of the empire there rolled a flood ; and the 
flood was mighty enough to sweep away all 
young Sir Walter's doubts about Mr Ruston 
being a gentleman, to obliterate Evan Hasel- 
den's sneers, to uproot his influence — in a word, 
to transform that youthful legislator from a 
paragon of wisdom and accomplishments into 
'a good chap, but rather a lot of side on, 
you know.' 

Marjory, having learnt from literature that hers 
was supposed to be the fickle sex, might well 
open her eyes and begin to feel very sorry in- 
deed for poor Evan Haselden. But she also 
was under the spell and hailed the sun of glory 
rising for her brother out of the mists of Omo- 
faga ; and if poor Lady Valentine shed some 
tears before Willie Ruston convinced her of the 
rare chance it was for her only boy — and a few 
more after he had so convinced her — why, it 
would be lucky if these were the only tears lost 
in the process of developing Omofaga ; for it 
seems that great enterprises must always be 
watered by the tears of mothers and nourished on 
the blood of sons. Sic fortis Etruria crevit. 

One or two other facts may here be chronicled 
about Omofaga. There were three great meet- 
ings ; one at the Cannon Street Hotel, purely 
commercial ; another at the Westminster Town 
Hall, commercial - political ; a third at Exeter 


Hall, commercial - religious. They were all 
very successful, and, taken together, were con- 
sidered to cover the ground pretty completely. 
The most unlike persons and the most disparate 
views found a point of union in Omofaga. 
Adela Ferrars put three thousand pounds into it, 
Lady Valentine a thousand. Mr Carlin finally 
disposed of the coal business, and his wife 
dreamt of the workhouse all night and scolded 
herself for her lack of faith all the morning. 
Willie Ruston spoke of being off in five months, 
and Sir Walter immediately bought a complete 
up-country outfit. 

Suddenly there was a cloud. Omofaga began 
to be ' written down,' in the most determined 
and able manner. The anonymous detractor — 
in such terms did Mr Foster Belford refer to the 
writer — used the columns of a business paper of 
high standing, and his letters, while preserving a 
judicial and temperate tone, were uncompromis- 
ingly hostile and exceedingly damaging. A 
large part of Omofaga (he said) had not been 
explored, indeed, nobody knew exactly what was 
and what was not Omofaga ; let the shareholders 
get what comfort they could out of that ; but, 
so far as Omofaga had been explored, it had 
been proved to be barren of all sources of wealth. 
The writer grudgingly admitted that it might 
feed a certain head of cattle, though he hastened 
to add that the flies were fatal all the hot months ; 
but as for gold, or diamonds, or any such 
things as companies most love, there were none, 
and if there were, they could not be won, and if 


they could be won no European could live to 
win them. It was a timid time on the mar- 
kets then, and people took fright easily. In a 
few days any temptation that might have as- 
sailed Lord Semingham and Harry Dennison 
lost its power. Omofagas were far below par, 
and Lady Semingham was entreating her hus- 
band to buy all he could against the hour 
when they should be worth five pounds apiece, 
because, as she said, Mr Ruston was quite sure 
that they were going to be, and who knew more 
about it than Mr Ruston ? 

It was just about this time that Tom Loring, 
who had vanished completely for a week or two 
after his departure from Curzon Street, came up 
out of the depths and called on Adela Ferrars in 
Queen's Gate ; and her first remark showed that 
she was a person of some perspicacity. 

'Isn't this rather small of you?' she asked, 
putting on her eyeglasses and finding an article 
which she indicated. 'You may not like him, 
but still—' 

' How like a woman ! ' said Tom Loring in 
the tone of a man who expects and, on the 
whole, welcomes ill-usage. ' How did you know 
it was mine ? ' 

' It's so like that article of Harry Dennison's. 
I think you might put your name, anyhow.' 

' Yes, and rob what I say of all weight. Who 
knows my name ? ' 

Adela felt an impulse to ask him angrily why 
nobody knew his name, but she inquired instead 
what he thought he knew about Omofaga. She 


put this question in a rather offensive 

It appeared that Tom Loung knew a great deal 
about Ornofaga, all, in fact, that there was to be 
learnt fro;n blue-books, consular reports, gazet- 
teers, travels, and other heavy works of a like kind. 

' You've been moling in the British Museum,' 
cried Adela accusingly. 

Tom admitted it without the least shame. 

' I knew this thing was a fraud and the man a 
fraud, and I determined to show him up if I 
could,' said he. 

' It's because you hate him.' 

' Then it's lucky for the British investor that 
I do hate him.' 

' It's not lucky for me,' said Adela. 

' You don't mean to say you've been — ' 

' Fool enough ? Yes, I have. No, don't 
quarrel again. It won't ruin me, anyhow. Are 
the things you say really true ? ' 

Tom replied by another question. 

' Do you think I'd write 'em if I didn't believe 
they were ? ' 

' No, but you might believe they were because 
you hate him.' 

Tom seemed put out at this idea. It is not 
one that generally suggests itself to a man when 
his own views are in question. 

• I admit I began because I hate him,' he said, 
with remarkable candour, after a moment's con- 
sideration ; ' but, by Jove, as I went on I found 
plenty of justification. Look here, you mustn't 
tell anyone I'm writing them.' 



Tom looked a little embarrassed as he made 
this request. 

Adela hesitated for a moment. She did not 
like the request either. 

' No, I won't/ she said at last ; and she added, 
• I'm beginning to think I hate him, too. He's 
turning me into an hospital.' 
' What ? ' 

' People he wounds come to me. Old Lady 
Valentine came and cried because Walter's 
going to Omofaga ; and Evan came and — well, 
swore because Walter worships Mr Ruston ; 
and Harry Dennison came and looked bewild- 
ered, and — you know — because — oh, because of 
you, and so on.' 

' And now I come, don't I ? ' 
' Yes, and now you.' 

4 And has Mrs Dennison come ? ' asked Tom, 
with a look of disconcerting directness. 

' No,' snapped Adela, and she looked at the 
floor, whereupon Tom diverted his eyes from 
her and stared at the ceiling. 

Presently he searched in his waistcoat pocket 
and brought out a little note. 

' Read that,' he said, a world of disgust in 
his tone. 

1 "I told you so.— B.C.," ' read Adela. ' Oh, it's 
that Cormack woman ! ' she cried. 

' You see what it means ? She means I've 
been got rid of in order that — ' Tom stopped, 
and brought his clenched fist down on his 
opened palm. ' If I thought it, I'd shoot the 
fellow,' he ended. 


He looked at her for the answer to his un- 
expressed question. 

Adela turned the pestilential note over and 
over in her ringers, handling it daintily as 
though it might stain. 

Kt I don't think he means it,' she said at last, 
without trying to blink the truth of Tom's 

Tom rose and began to walk about. 

' Women beat me,' he broke out. ' I don't 
understand 'em. How should I ? I'm not 
one of these fellows who catch women's fancy 
—thank God ! ' 

1 If you continue to dislike the idea, you'll 
probably manage to escape the reality,' observed 
Adela, and her tone, for some reason or other — 
perhaps merely through natural championship 
of her sex — was rather cold and her manner 

1 Oh, some women are all right ; ' and Adela 
acknowledged the concession with a satirical 
bow. ' Look here, can't you help ? ' he burst out. 
' Tell her what a brute he is.' 

'Oh, you do not understand women!' 

' Well, then, I shall tell Dennison. He won't 
stand nonsense of that kind.' 

' You'll deserve horsewhipping if you do,' 
remarked Adela. 

' Then what am I to do ? ' 

'Nothing. In fact, Mr Loring, you have no 
genius for delicate operations.' 

' Of course I'm a fool.' 

Adela played with her pince-nez for a minute 


or two, put it on, looked at him, and then said, 
with just a touch of unwonted timidity in her 

1 Anyhow, you happen to be a gentleman.' 

Poor Tom had been a good deal buffeted 
of late, and a friendly stroking was a pleasant 
change. He looked up with a smile, but as 
he looked up Adela looked away. 

' I think I'll stop those articles,' said he. 

' Yes, do,' she cried, a bright smile on her 

1 They've pretty well done their work, too.' 

1 Don't ! Don't spoil it ' But — but don't 
you get money for them ? ' 

Tom was in better humour now. He held 
out his hand with his old friendly smile. 

' Oh, wait till I am in the workhouse, and 
then you shall take me out.' 

' I don't believe I did mean that,' protested 

' You always mean everything that — that 
the best woman in the world could mean,' 
and Tom wrung her hand and disappeared. 

Adela's hand was rather crushed and hurt, 
and for a moment she stood regarding it 

' I thought he was going to kiss it,' she said. 
1 One of those fellows who take women's fancy, 
perhaps, would have ! And — and it wouldn't 
have hurt so much. Ah, well, I'm very glad 
he's going to stop the articles.' 

And the articles did stop ; and perhaps things 
might have fallen out worse than that an honest 


man, driven hard by bitterness, should do a useful 
thing from a doubtful motive, and having done 
just enough of it, should repent and sin no 
more ; for unquestionably the articles pre- 
vented a great many persons from paying an 
•mduly high price for Omofaga shares. This 
lir.a of thought seems defensible, but it was 
not Adela's. She rejoiced purely that Tom 
should turn away from the doubtful thing ; and 
if Tom had been a man of greater acuteness, 
it would have struck him as worthy of note, per- 
haps even of gratification, that Miss Adela 
Ferrars should care so much whether he did 
or did not do doubtful things. But then Miss 
Ferrars — for it seems useless to keep her secret 
any longer, the above recorded interview having 
somewhat impaired its mystery — was an improb- 
ably romantic person — such are to be met even 
at an age beyond twenty-five — and was very 
naturally ashamed of her weakness. People 
often are ashamed of being better than their 
surroundings. Being better they feel better, and 
feeling better they feel priggish, and then they 
try not to be better, and happily fail. So Adela 
was very shamefaced over her ideal, and would 
as soon have thought of preaching on a platform 
— of which practice she harboured a most bigoted 
horror — as of proclaiming the part that love must 
play in her marriage. The romantic resolve lay 
snug in its hidden nest, sheltered from cold gusts 
of ridicule by a thick screen of worldly sayings, 
and, when she sent away a suitor, of worldly- 
wise excuses. Thus no one suspected it, not 


even Tom Loring, although he thought her ' the 
best of women ; ' a form of praise, by the way, 
that gave the lady honoured by it less pleasure 
than less valuable commendation might have 
done. Why best ? Why not most charming ? 
Well, probably because he thought the one and 
didn't think the other. She was the best ; but 
there was another whose doings and whose 
peril had robbed Tom Loring of his peace, and 
made him do the doubtful thing. Why had he 
done it? Or (and Adela smiled mockingly at 
this resurrection of the Old Woman), if he did do 
it, why did he do it for Maggie Dennison ? She 
didn't believe he would ever do a doubtful thing 
for her. For that she loved him ; but perhaps 
she would have loved him — well, not less — if he 
did ; for how she would forgive him ! 

After half-an-hour of this kind of thing — it 
was her own summary of her meditations — she 
dressed, went out to dinner, sat next Evan 
Haselden, and said cynical things all the evening ; 
so that, at last, Evan told her that she had 
no more feeling than a mummified Methodist. 
This was exactly what she wanted. 



THE Right Honourable Foster Belford, 
although not, like Mr Pitt, famous 
for ' ruining Great Britain gratis ' — per- 
haps merely from want of the opportunity — had 
yet not made a fortune out of political life, and 
it had suggested a pleasant addition to his means, 
when Willie Ruston offered him the chairman- 
ship of the Omofaga Company, with the promise 
of a very comfortable yearly honorarium. He 
accepted the post with alacrity, but without 
undue gratitude, for he considered himself well 
worth the price ; and the surprising fact is that 
he was well worth it. He bulked large to the 
physical and mental view. His colleagues in 
the Cabinet had taken a year or two to find out 
his limits, and the public had not found them 
out yet. Therefore he was not exactly a fool. 
On the other hand, the limits were certainly 
there, and so there was no danger of his develop- 
ing an inconvenient greatness. As has been 
previously hinted, he enjoyed Harry Dennison's 
entire confidence ; and he could be relied upon 



not to understand Lord Semingham's irrever- 
ence. Thus his appointment did good to the 
Omofaga as well as to himself, and only the 
initiated winked when Willie Ruston hid him- 
self behind this imposing figure and pulled the 

' The best of it is/ Ruston remarked to Sem- 
ingham, ' that you and Carlin will have the 
whole thing in your own hands when I've gone 
out. Belford won't give you any trouble.' 

' But, my dear fellow, I don't want it all in 
my hands. I want to grow rich out of it with- 
out anv trouble.' 

Ruston twisted his cigar in his mouth. The 
prospect of immediate wealth flowing in from 
Omofaga was, as Lord Semingham knew very 
well, not assured. 

1 Loring's stopped hammering us,' said Ruston ; 
' that's one thing.' 

' Oh, you found out he wrote them ? ' 

' Yes ; and uncommonly well he did it, con- 
found him. I wish we could get that fellow. 
There's a good deal in him.' 

'You see,' observed Lord Semingham, 'he 
doesn't like you. I don't know that you went 
the right way about to make him.' 

The remark sounded blunt, but Semingham 
had learnt not to waste delicate phrases on 
Willie Ruston. 

'Well, I didn't know he was worth the 

' One path to greatness is said to be to make 
no enemies.' 


' A very roundabout one, I should think. I'm 
going to make a good many enemies in Omo- 

Lord Semingham suddenly rose, put on his 
hat, and left the offices of the Company. Mrs 
Dciinison had, a little while ago, complained to 
him that she ate, drank, breathed and wore 
Omofaga. He had detected the insincerity of 
her complaint, but he was becoming inclined to 
echo it in all genuineness on his own account. 
There were moments when he wondered how 
and why he had allowed this young man to lead 
him so far and so deep ; moments when a convul- 
sion of Nature, redistributing Africa and blotting 
out Omofaga, would have left him some thousands 
of pounds poorer in purse, but appreciably more 
cheerful in spirit. Perhaps matters would mend 
when the Local Administrator had departed to 
his local administration, and only the mild 
shadow of him which bore the name of Carlin 
trod the boards of Queen Street, Cheapside. 
Ruston began to be oppressive. The restless 
energy and domineering mind of the man 
wearied Semingham's indolent and dilettante 
spirit, and he hailed the end of the season as an 
excellent excuse for putting himself beyond the 
reach of his colleague for a few weeks. Yet the 
more he quailed, the more he trusted ; and when 
a very great man, holding a very great office, 
met him in the House of Lords, and expressed 
the opinion that when the Company and Mr 
Ruston went to Omofaga they would find them- 
selves in a pretty hornets' nest, Lord Seming- 


ham only said that he should be sorry for the 

1 Don't ask us to fetch your man out for you, 
that's all,' said the very great man. 

And for a instant Lord Semingham, still 
feeling that load upon his shoulders, fancied 
that it would be far from his heart to prefer 
such a request. There might be things less just 
and fitting than that Willie Ruston and those 
savage tribes of Omofaga should be left to fight 
out the quarrel by themselves, the civilised world 
standing aloof. And the dividends — well, of 
course, there were the dividends, but Lord Sem- 
ingham had in his haste forgotten them. 

' Ah, you don't know Ruston,' said he, shaking 
a forefinger at the great man. 

' Don't I ? He came every day to my office 
for a fortnight' 

' Wanted something ? ' 

' Yes, he wanted something certainly, or he 
wouldn't have come, you know.' 

4 Got it, I suppose ? ' asked Lord Semingham, 
in a tone curiously indicative of resignation 
rather than triumph. 

' Well, yes ; I did, at last, not without hesita- 
tion, accede to his request' 

Then Lord Semingham, with no apparent 
excuse, laughed in the face of the great man, 
left the House (much in the same sudden way 
as he had left Queen Street, Cheapside), and 
passed rapidly through the lobbies till he 
reached Westminster Hall. Here he met a 
young man, clad to perfection, but looking sad. 


It was Evan Haselden. With a sense of relief 
at meeting no one of heavier metal, Semingham 
stopped him, and began to talk. Evan's 
melancholy air enveloped his answers in a mist 
of gloom. Moreover there was a large streak 
on his hat, where the nap had been rubbed the 
wrong way ; evidently he was in trouble. 
Presently he seized his friend by the arm, and 
proposed a walk in the Park. 

' But are you paired ? ' asked Semingham ; for 
an important division was to occur that day 
in the Commons. 

• No,' said Evan fiercely. ' Come along ; ' 
and Lord Semingham went, exclaiming in- 
wardly, • A girl ! ' 

1 I'm the most miserable devil alive,' said 
Evan, as they left the Horse Guards on the 
right hand. 

Semingham put up his eyeglass. 

' I've always regarded you as the favourite of 
fortune,' he said. ' What's the matter ? ' 

The matter unfolded itself some half-hour 
after they had reached the Row and sat down. 
It came forth with difficulty ; pride obstructed 
the passage, and something better than pride 
made the young man diffuse in the telling 
of his trouble. Lord Semingham grew very 
grave indeed. Let who would laugh at happy 
lovers, he had a groan for the unfortunate — a 
groan with reservations. 

' She said she liked me very much, but didn't 
feel — didn't, you know, look up to me enough, 
and so on,' said poor Evan in puzzled pain. 


'I — I can't think what's come over her. She 
used to be quite different. I don't know what 
she means by talking like that.' 

Lord Semingham played a tune on his knee 
with the fingers of one hand. He was wait- 

' Young Val's gone back on me too,' moaned 
Evan, who took the brother's deposal of him 
hardly more easily than the sister's rejection. 
Suddenly he brightened up ; a smile, but a bitter 
one, gleamed across his face. 

' I think I've put one spoke in his wheel, 
though,' he said. 

1 Ruston's ? ' inquired Semingham, still playing 
his tune. 

' Yes. A fortnight ago, old Detchmore ' (Lord 
Detchmore was the very great man before re- 
ferred to) ' asked me if I knew Loring. You 
know Ruston's been trying to get Detchmore 
to back him up in making a railway to Omo- 
faga ? ' 

' I didn't know,' said Lord Semingham, with 
an unmoved face. 

' You're a director, aren't you ? ' 

' Yes. Go on, my dear boy.' 

1 And Detchmore had seen Loring's articles. 
Well. I took Tom to him, and we left him quite 
decided to have nothing to do with it. Oh, by 
Jove, though, I forgot; I suppose you'd be on 
the other side there, wouldn't you ? ' 

' I suppose I should, but it doesn't matter. 1 

' Why not ? ' 

' Because I fancy Ruston's got what he 


wanted ;' and Lord Semingham related what 
he had heard from the Earl of Detchmore. 

Evan listened in silence, and, the tale ended, 
the two lay back in their chairs, and idly looked 
at the passing carriages. At last Lord Sem- 
rngham- spoke. 

'He's going to Omofaga in a few months,' 
he observed. 'And, Evan, you don't mean 
that he's your rival at the Valentines' ? ' 

' I'm not so sure, confound him. You know 
how pretty she is.' 

Semingham knew that she was pretty ; but 
he also knew that she was poor, and thought 
that she was, if not too insipid (for he recog- 
nised the unusual taste of his own mind), at 
least too immature to carry Willie Ruston off 
his feet, and into a love affair that promised no 
worldly gain. 

' I asked Mrs Dennison what she thought,' 
pursued Evan. 
' Oh, you did ? ' 

' But the idea seemed quite a new one to her. 
That's good, you know. I expect she'd have 
noticed if he'd shown any signs.' 

Lord Semingham thought it very likely. 
4 Anyhow,' Evan continued, 'Marjory's 
awfully keen about him.' 

' He'll be in Omofaga in three or four months,' 
Semingham repeated. It was all the consola- 
tion he could offer. 

Presently Evan got up and strode away. 
Lord Semingham sat on, musing on the strange 
turmoil the coming of the man had made in 


the little corner of the world he dwelt in. 
He was reminded of what was said concerning 
Lord Byron by another poet. They all felt 
Ruston. His intrusion into the circle had 
changed all the currents, so that sympathy 
ran no longer between old friends, and hearts 
answered to a new stimulus. Some he at- 
tracted, some he repelled ; none did he leave 
alone. From great to small his influence ran ; 
from the expulsion of Tom Loring to the 
christening of the Omofaga mantle. Sem- 
ingham had an acute sense of the absurdity 
of it all, but he had seen absurd things 
happen too often to be much relieved by his 
intuition. And when absurd things happen, 
they have consequences just as other things 
have. And the most exasperating fact was 
the utter unconsciousness of the disturber. 
He had no mystery-airs, no graces, no seem- 
ing fascinations. He was relentlessly business- 
like, unsentimental, downright ; he took it all 
as a matter of course. He did not pry for 
weak spots. He went right on — on and over 
— and seemed not to know when he was 
going over. A very Juggernaut indeed ! Sem- 
ingham thanked Adela for teaching him the 

He was suddenly roused by the merry 
laughter of children. Three or four little ones 
were scampering along the path in the height 
of glee. As they came up, he recognised them. 
He had seen them once before. They were 
Carlin's children. Five there were, he counted 


now ; three ran ahead ; two little girls held 
each a hand of Willie Ruston's, who was 
laughing as merrily as his companions. The 
whole group knew Semingham, and the eldest 
child was by his knees in a moment. 

' We've been to the Exhibition,' she cried 
exultantly ; ' and now Willie — Mr Ruston, I 
mean — is taking us to have ices in Bond 

1 A human devil ! ' said the astonished man 
to himself, as Willie Ruston plumped down 
beside him, imploring a brief halt, and earnestly 
asseverating that his request was in good faith, 
and concealed no lurking desire to evade the 

' I met young Haselden as we came along,' 
Ruston observed, wiping his brow. 
' Ah ! Yes, he's been with me.' 
The children had wandered a few yards off, 
and stood impatiently looking at their hero. 

1 He's had a bit of a facer, I fancy.' pursued 
Willie Ruston. ' Heard about it ? ' 
' Something.' 

1 It'll come all right, I should think,' said 
Ruston, in a comfortably careless tone. ' He's 
not a bad fellow, you know, though he's not 
over-appreciative of me.' Lord Semingham 
found no comment. ' I hear you're going to 
Dieppe next week ? ' asked Ruston. 

' Yes. My wife and Mrs Dennison have put 
their heads together, and fixed on that. You 
know we're economising.' 
Ruston laughed. 


' I suppose you are,' he said through his white 
teeth. The idea seemed to amuse him. ' We 
may meet there. I've promised to run over 
for a few days if I can.' 

' The deuce you have ! ' would have expressed 
his companion's feelings ; but Lord Semingham 
only said, ' Oh, really ? ' 

1 All right, I'm coming directly,' Ruston cried 
a moment later to his young friends, and, with 
a friendly nod, he rose and went on his way. 
Lord Semingham watched the party till it 
disappeared through the Park gates, hearing 
in turn the children's shrill laugh and Willie 
Ruston's deeper notes. The effect of the chance 
meeting was to make his fancies and his 
fancied feelings look still more absurd. That 
he perceived at once ; the devil appeared so 
very human in such a mood and such sur- 
roundings. Yet that attribute — that most 
demoniac attribute — of ubiquity loomed larger 
and larger. For not even a foreign land — 
not even a watering-place of pronounced 
frivolity — was to be a refuge. The man was 
coming to Dieppe ! And on whose bidding ? 
Semingham had no doubt on whose bidding ; 
and, out of the airy forms of those absurd 
fancies, there seemed to rise a more material 
shape, a reality, a fabric not compounded 
wholly of dreams, but mixed of stuff that had 
made human comedies and human tragedies 
since the world began. Mrs Dennison had 
bidden Willie Ruston to Dieppe. That was 
Semingham's instant conclusion ; she had 


bidden him, not merely by a formal invitation, 
or by a simple acquiescence, but by the will 
and determination which possessed her to be 
of his mind and in his schemes. And perhaps Haselden's innocent asking of her views 
ha J carried its weight also. For nearly an 
hour Semingham sat and mused. For awhile 
he thought he would act ; but how should he 
act ? And why ? And to what end ? Since 
what must be must, and in vain do we meddle 
with fate. An easy, almost eager, recognition 
of the inevitable in the threatened, of the 
necessary in everything that demanded effort 
for its avoidance, had stamped his life and 
grown deep into his mind. Wherefore now, 
faced with possibilities that set his nerves on 
edge, and wrung his heart for good friends, 
he found nothing better to do than shrug 
his shoulders and thank God that his own 
wife's submission to the man went no deeper 
than the inside lining of that famous Omofaga 
mantle, nor his own than the bottom, or near 
the bottom, of his trousers' pocket. 

' Though that, in faith,' he exclaimed ruefully, 
as at last he rose, ' is, in this world of ours, 
pretty deep ! ' 



Hr*HE Dennison children, after a two nights' 
_1_ banishment, had come down to dessert 
again. They had been in sore dis- 
grace, caused (it was stated to Mrs Cormack, 
who had been invited to dine en famille) by 
a grave breach of hospitality and good 
manners which Madge had led the younger 
ones — who tried to look plaintively innocent 
— into committing. 

The Carlin children had come to tea, and 
a great dissension had arisen between the two 
parties. The Carlins had belauded the gener- 
ous donor of ices ; Madge had taken up the 
cudgels fiercely on Tom Loring's behalf, and 
Dora and Alfred had backed her up. Each 
side proceeded from praise of its own favourite 
to sneers — by no means covert — at the other's 
man, and the feud had passed from the stage 
of words to that of deeds before it was dis- 
covered by the superior powers and crushed. 
On the hosts, of course, the blame had to fall ; 
they were sent to bed, while the guests drove 



off in triumph, comforted by sweets and shil- 
lings. Madge did not think, or pretend to 
think, that this was justice, and her mother's 
recital of her crimes to Mrs Cormack, so far 
nom reducing her to penitence, brought back 
to her cheeks and eyes the glow they had 
worn when she slapped (there is no use in 
blinking facts) Jessie Carlin, and told her that 
she hated Mr Ruston. Madge Dennison was 
like her mother in face and temper. That 
may have been the reason why Harry Denni- 
son squeezed her hand under the table, and 
by his tacit aid broke the force of his wife's 
cold reproofs. But there was perhaps another 
reason also. 

Mrs Cormack said that she was shocked, 
and looked very much amused. The little 
history made up for the bore of having the 
children brought in. That was a thing she 
objected to very much ; it stopped all rational 
conversation. But now her curiosity was 

' Why don't you like Mr Ruston, my child ? ' 
she asked Madge. 

' I don't dislike him,' said Madge, rosy red, 
and speaking with elaborate slowness. She 
said it as though it were a lesson . she had 

' But why, then,' said Mrs Cormack, whirling 
her hands, ' beat the little Carlin ? ' 

1 That was before mamma told me,' an- 
swered Madge, the two younger ones sitting 
by, open-mouthed, to hear her explanation. 


' Oh, what an obedient child ! How I 
should have liked a little girl like you, 
darling ! ' 

Madge hated sarcasm, and her feelings to- 
wards Mrs Cormack reflected those of her 
idol, Tom Loring. 

' I don't know what you mean,' she said 
curtly ; and then she looked anxiously at her 

But Mrs Dennison was smiling. 

'Let her alone, Berthe,' she said. 'She's 
been punished. Give her some fruit, Harry.' 

Harry Dennison piled up the plate eagerly 
held out to him. 

• Who'll give you fruit at Dieppe ? ' he 
asked, stroking his daughter's hair. 

Mrs Cormack pricked up her ears. 

' Didn't we tell you ? ' asked Mrs Dennison. 
' Harry can't come for a fortnight. That tire- 
some old Sir George ' (Sir George was 
the senior partner in Dennison, Sons & 
Company) ' is down with the gout, and 
Harry's got to stay in town. But I'll give 
Madge fruit — if she's good.' 

' Papa gives it me anyhow,' said Madge, 
who preferred unconditional benefits. 

Harry laughed dolefully. He had been look- 
ing forward to a holiday with his children. 
Their uninterrupted society would have easily 
consoled him for the loss of the moor. 

' It's an awful bore,' he said ; ' but there's 
no help for it. Sir George can't put a foot 
to the ground.' 


'Anyhow/ suggested Mrs Cormack, 'you will 
be able to help Mr Ruston with the Omofaga.' 

* Papa,' broke out Madge, her face bright 
-.vith a really happy idea, which must, she 
thought, meet with general acceptance, ' since 
you can't come, why shouldn't Tom ? ' 

Mrs Cormack grew more amused. Oh, it was 
quite worth while to have the children ! They 
were so good at saying things one couldn't say 
oneself; and then one could watch the effect. 
In an impulse of gratitude, she slid a banana 
on to Madge's plate. 

1 Marjory Valentine's coming,' said Mrs 
Dennison. 'You like her, don't you, Madge?' 

' She's a girl,' said Madge scornfully ; and 
Harry, with a laugh, stroked her hair again. 

' You're a little flirt,' said he. 

' But why can't Tom ? ' persisted Madge, 
as she attacked the banana. It was Mrs 
Cormack's gift, but — non olet. 

For a moment nobody answered. Then 
Harry Dennison said — not in the least as though 
he believed it, or expected anybody else to 
believe it — 

' Tom's got to stay and work.' 

' Have all the gentlemen we know got to 
stay and work ? ' 

Harry nodded assent. 

Mrs Cormack was leaning forward. A 
moment later she sank back, hiding a smile 
behind her napkin ; for Madge observed, in a 
tone cf utter contentment, 

' Oh, then, Mr Ruston won't come ; ' and she 


wagged her head reassuringly at the open- 
mouthed little ones. They were satisfied, and 
fell again to eating. 

After a few moments, Mrs Dennison, who 
had made no comment on her daughter's 
inference, swept the flock off to bed, praying 
Berthe to excuse her temporary absence. It 
was her habit to go upstairs with them when 
possible, and Harry would see that coffee 

' Poor Madge ! ' said Harry, when the door 
was shut, ' what'il she say when Ruston turns 

' Then he does go ? ' 

' I think so. We'd asked him to stay with 
us, and though he can't do that now, he and 
young Walter Valentine talk of running over 
for a few days. I hope they will.' 

Mrs Cormack, playing with her teaspoon, 
glanced at her host out of the corner of her 

' He can go all the better, as I shall be 
here,' continued Harry. ' I can look after 

Mrs Cormack rapped the teaspoon sharply 
on her cup. The man was such a fool. Harry, 
dimly recognising her irritation, looked up 
inquiringly ; but she hesitated before she 
spoke. Would it spoil sport or make sport if 
she stirred a suspicion in him ? A thought 
threw its weight in the balance. Maggie Den- 
nison's friendship had been a trifle condescend- 
ing, and the grateful friend pictured her under 


the indignity of enforced explanations, of 
protests, even of orders to alter her conduct. 
But how would Harry take a hint? There 
were men silly enough to resent such hints. 
Caution was the word. 

1 Well, I almost wish he wasn't going,' she 
said at last. ' For Maggie's sake, I mean. 
She wants a complete rest.' 

' Oh, but she likes him. He amuses her. 
Why, she's tremendously interested in Omo- 
faga, Mrs Cormack.' 

' Ah, but he excites her too. We poor 
women have nerves, Mr Dennison. It would 
be much better for her to hear nothing of 
Omofaga for a few weeks.' 

' Has she been talking to you much about 
it ? ' asked Harry, beginning to feel anxious 
at his guest's immensely solemn tone. 

Indeed, little Mrs Cormack spoke for the 
nonce quite like a family physician. 

1 Oh, yes, about it and him,' she replied. 
' She's never off the subject. Mr Loring was 
half right' 

1 Tom's objections were based on quite 
other grounds.' 

1 Oh, were they really ? I thought — Well, 
anyhow, Mr Ruston being there will do 
her no good. She'll like it immensely, of 

Harry Dennison rubbed his hand over his 

' I ->ee what you mean,' he said. ' Yes, 
she'd have been better away from everything. 


But I can't object to Ruston going. I asked 
him myself.' 

' Yes, when you were going.' 

1 That makes no difference.' 

Mrs Cormack said nothing. She tapped her 
spoon against the cup once more. 

' Why, we should have talked all the more 
about it if I'd been there.' 

His companion was still silent, her eyes 
turned down towards the table. Harry looked 
at her with perplexity, and when he next 
spoke, there was a curious appealing note in 
his voice. 

'Surely it doesn't make any difference?' he 
asked. ' What difference can it make ? ' 

No answer came. Mrs Cormack laid down 
the spoon and sat back in her chair. 

'You mean there'll be no one to make a 
change for her — to distract her thoughts ? ' 

Mrs Cormack flung her hands out with an 
air of impatience. 

' Oh, I meant nothing,' said she petulantly. 

The clock seemed to tick very loud in the 
silence that followed her words. 

' I wish I could go,' said Harry at last, in 
a low tone. 

' Oh, I wish you could, Mr Dennison ; ' and 
as she spoke she raised her eyes, and, for the 
first time, looked full in his face. 

Harry rose from his chair ; at the same 
moment his wife re-entered the room. He 
started a little at the sight of her. 

She held a letter in her hand. 


'Mr Ruston will be at Dieppe on the 15th 
with Walter Valentine,' she said, referring to 
it. ' Give me some coffee, Harry.' 
» He poured it out and gave it to her, say- 

• A letter from Ruston ? Let's see what 
he says.' 

' Oh, there's nothing else,' she answered, 
laying it beside her. 

Mrs Cormack sat looking on. 

' May I see ? ' asked Harry Dennison. 

* If you like,' she answered, a little sur- 
prised ; and, turning to Mrs Cormack, she 
added, ' Mr Ruston's a man of few words 
on paper.' 

' Ah, he makes every word mean some- 
thing, I expect,' returned that lady, who was 
quite capable of the same achievement her- 
self, and exhibited it in this very speech. 

' What does he mean by the postscript ? 
— " Have you found another kingdom yet ? " ' 
asked Harry, with a puzzled frown. 

' It's a joke, dear.' 

1 But what does it mean ? ' 

'Oh, my dear Harry, I can't explain jokes.' 

Harry laid the note down again. 

' It's a joke between ourselves,' Mrs Den- 
nison went on. ' I oughtn't to have shown 
you the letter. Come, Berthe, we'll go up- 

And Mrs Cormack had no alternative but 
to cbey. 

Left alone, Harry Dennison drew his chair 


up to the hearthrug. There was no fire, 
but he acted as though there were, leaning 
forward with his elbows on his knees, and 
gazing into the grate. He felt hurt and dis- 
consolate. His old grievance — that people left 
him out — was strong upon him. He had 
delighted in the Omofaga scheme, because 
he had been in the inside ring there — be- 
cause he was of importance to it — because 
it showed him to his wife as a mover in great 
affairs. And now — somehow — he seemed to 
be being pushed outside there too. What 
was this joke between themselves ? At Dieppe 
they would have all that out; he would not 
be in the way there. Then he did not 
understand what Berthe Cormack would be 
at. She had looked at him so curiously. 
He did not know what to make of it, and 
he wished that Tom Loring were on the 
other side of the fireplace. Then he could 
ask him all about it. Tom ! Why, Tom had 
looked at him almost in the same way as 
Berthe Cormack had — just when he was 
wringing his hand in farewell. No, it was 
not the same way — and yet in part the same. 
Tom's look had pity in it, and no derision. 
Mrs Cormack's derision was but touched with 
pity. Yet both seemed to ask, ' Don't you 
see ? ' See what ? Why had Tom gone 
away ? He could rely on Tom. See what ? 
There was nothing to see. 

He sat longer than he meant It was past 
ten when he went upstairs. Mrs Cormack 


had gone, and his wife was in an armchair 
by the open window. He came in softly 
and surprised her with her head thrown back 
on the cushions and a smile on her lips. 
And the letter was in her hands. Hearing 
his step when he was close by her, she sat 
up, letting the note fall to the ground. 

' What a time you've been ! Berthe's gone. 
Were you asleep?' 

' No. I was thinking ; Maggie, I wish I 
could come to Dieppe with you.' 

' Ah, I wish you could,' said she graciously. 
1 But you're left in charge of Omofaga.' 

She spoke as though in that charge lay 
consolation more than enough. 

' I believe you care — I mean you think- 
more about Omofaga than about — ' 

1 Anything in the world ? ' she asked, in 
playful mockery. 

' Than about me,' he went on stubbornly. 

1 Than about your coming to Dieppe, you 
mean ? ' 

' I mean, than about me,' he repeated. 

She looked at him wonderingly. 

' My dear man,' said she, taking his hand, 
1 what's the matter? ' 

' You do wish I could come ? ' 

1 Must I say ? ' smiled Mrs Dennison. 
' For shame, Harry ! You might be on your 

He moved away, and flung himself into a 

1 I don't think it's fair of Ruston,' he 


broke out, ' to run away and leave it all to 

1 Why, you told him you could do it per- 
fectly ! I heard you say so.' 

' How could I say anything else, when — 
when — ' 

' And originally you were both to be away ! 
After all, you're not stopping because of 
Omofaga, but because Sir George has got 
the gout.' 

Harry Dennison, convicted of folly, had no 
answer, though he was hurt that he should 
be convicted out of his wife's mouth. He 
shuffled his feet about and began to whistle 

Mrs Dennison looked at him with smothered 
impatience. Their little boy behaved like 
that when he was in a naughty mood — when 
he wanted the moon, or something of that 
kind, and thought mother and nurse cruel 
because it didn't come. Mrs Dennison forgot 
that mother and nurse were fate to her little 
boy, or she might have sympathised with his 
naughty moods a little better. 

She rose now and walked slowly over to her 
husband. She had a hand on his chair, and 
was about to speak, when he stopped his 
whistling and jerked out abruptly, 

' What did he mean about the kingdom ? ' 

Mrs Dennison's hand slid away and fell 
by her side. Harry caught her look of cold 
anger. He leapt to his feet. 

' Maggie, I'm a fool/ he cried. ' I don't 


know what's wrong with me. Sit down 

He made her sit, and half-crouched, half- 
knelt, beside her. 

Maggie,' he went on, 'are you angry? 
Damu the joke! I don't want to know. 
Are you sorry I'm not coming?' 

'What a baby you are, Harry! Oh, yes, 
awfully sorry.' 

He knew so well what he wanted to say : 
he wanted to tell her that she was every- 
thing to him, that to be out of her heart 
was death : that to feel her slipping away 
was a torture : he wanted to woo and win 
her over again — win her more truly than he 
had even in those triumphant days when she 
gave herself to him. He wanted to show 
her that he understood her — that he was not 
a fool — that he was man enough for her ! 
Yes, that she need not turn to Ruston or 
anybody else. Oh, yes, he could understand 
her, really he could. 

Not a word of it would come. He dared 
not begin : he feared that he would look — 
that she would find him — more silly still, if 
he began to say that sort of thing. She was 
smiling satirically now — indulgently but satiri- 
cally, and the emphasis of her purposely 
childish ' awfully ' betrayed her estimation of 
his question. She did not understand the 
mood. She was accustomed to his admira- 
tion — w 01 ship would hardly be too strong a 
word. But the implied demand for a response 


to it seemed strange to her. Her air bore in 
upon him the utter difference between his 
thoughts of her and the way she thought 
about him. Always dimly felt, it had never 
pressed on him like this before. 

' Really, I'm very sorry, dear,' she said, just 
a little more seriously. ' But it's only a fort- 
night. We're not separating for ever/ and her 
smile broke out again. 

With a queer feeling of hopelessness, he rose 
to his feet. No, he couldn't make her feel it. 
He had suffered in the same way over his 
speeches ; he couldn't make people feel them 
either. She didn't understand. It was no use. 
He began to whistle again, staring out of the 
open window. 

' I shall go to bed. Harry. I'm tired. I've 
been seeing that the maid's packed what I 
wanted, and it's harder work than packing 

'Give me a kiss, Meg,' he said, turning 

She did not do that, but she accepted his kiss, 
and he, turning away abruptly, shaped his lips 
to resume his tune. But now the tune wouldn't 
come. His wife left him alone. The tune came 
when she was there. Now it wouldn't. Ah, 
but the words would. He muttered them in- 
audibly to himself as he stood looking out of the 
window. They sounded as though they must 
touch any woman's heart. With an oath he 
threw himself on to the sofa, trying now to 
banish the haunting words — the words that 


would not come at his call, and came, in belated 
uselessness, to mock him now. He lay still ; 
and they ran through his head. At last they 
ceased ; but, before he could thank God for that, 
a Grange sense of desolation came over him. 
He looked round the empty silent room, that 
seemed larger now than in its busy daylight 
hours. The house was all still ; there might 
have been one lying dead in it. It might have 
been the house of a man who had lost his 



THE great Napoleon once observed — ' 
' Don't quote from " Anecdotes, New 
and Old," ' interrupted Adela unkindly. 

' That when his death was announced,' pur- 
sued Lord Semingham, who thought it good 
for Adela to take no notice of such interrup- 
tions, ' everybody would say Ouf. I say " Ouf" 
now,' and he stretched his arms luxuriously to 
their full length. ' There's room here,' he added, 
explaining the gesture. 

' Well, who's dead ? ' asked Adela, choosing to 
be exasperatingly literal. 

' Nobody's dead ; but a lot of people — and 
things — are a long way off.' 

' That's not so satisfactorily final,' said Adela. 

1 No, but it serves for the time. Did you see 
me on my bicycle this morning ? ' 

' What, going round here ? ' and Adela waved 
her hand circularly, as though embracing the 
broad path that runs round the grass by the 
sea at Dieppe. 

' Yes — just behind a charming Parisienne in a 



pair of — behind a charming Parisienne in an 
appropriate costume.' 

' Bessie must get one,' said Adela. 

' Good heavens ! ' 

' r mean a bicycle.' 

' Oh, certainly, if she likes ; but she'd as soon 
mount Salisbury Spire.' 

' How did you learn ? ' 

' I really beg your pardon,' said Semingham, 
' but the fact is — Ruston taught me.' 

' Let's change the subject,' said Adela, smil- 

' A charming child, this Marjory Valentine,' 
observed Semingham. ' She's too good for 
young Evan. I'm very glad she wouldn't have 

' I'm not' 

' You're always sorry other girls don't marry. 
Heaven knows why.' 

' Well, I'm sorry she didn't take Evan.' 

« Why ? ' 

' I can't tell you.' 

4 Not — not the forbidden topic ? ' 

• I half believe so.' 

' But she's here with Maggie Dennison.' 

' Well, everybody doesn't chatter as you do,' 
said Adela incisively. 

' I don't believe it. She — Hallo ! here she 

Marjory Valentine came along, bending her 
slim figure a little, the better to resist a fresh 
breeze that blew her skirts out behind her, and 
threatened to carry off her broad-brimmed hat. 



She had been bathing ; the water was warm, and 
her cheeks glowed with a fine colour. As she 
came up, both Adela and Lord Semingham put 
on their eyeglasses. 

* An uncommon pretty girl,' observed the 

' Isn't it glorious?' cried Marjory, yet several 
yards away. ' Walter will enjoy the bathing 

' When's he coming ? ' 

' Saturday,' answered Marjory. ' Where's 
Lady Semingham ? ' 

* Dressing,' said Semingham solemnly. ' Cos- 
tume number one, off at 1 1.30. Costume 
number two, on at 12. Costume number two, 
off at 3*30. Costume — ' 

'After all, she's your wife,' said Adela, in 
tones of grave reproach. 

' But for that, I shouldn't have a word to say 
against it. Women are very queer reasoners.' 

Marjory sat down next to Adela. 

1 Women do waste a lot of time on dress, 
don't they ? ' she asked, in a meditative tone ; 
' and a lot of thought, too ! ' 

4 Hallo ! exclamed Lord Semingham. 

1 I mean, thought they might give to really 
important things. You can't imagine George 

' What about Queen Elizabeth ? ' interrupted 

* She was a horrible woman,' said Adela. 

' Phryne attached no importance to it,' added 


I Oh, I forget ! Tell me about her,' cried 

** i -'A strong-minded woman, Miss Mar- 

' He's talking nonsense, Marjory.' 

• I. supplied a historical instance in Miss 
Valentine's favour.' 

I I shall look her up,' said Marjory, at which 
Lord Semingham smiled in quiet amusement. 
He was a man who saw his joke a long way 
off, and could wait patiently for it. 

' Yes, do,' he said, lighting a cigarette. 

Adela had grown grave, and was watching 
tiie girl's face. It was a pretty face, and not 
a silly one ; and Marjory's blue eyes gazed 
out to sea, as though she were looking at 
something a great way off. Adela, with a 
frown of impatience, turned to her other neigh- 
bour. She would not be troubled with 
aspirations there. In fact, she was still annoyed 
with her young friend on Evan Haselden's 
account. But it was no use turning to Lord 
Semingham. His eyes were more than half- 
closed, and he was beating time gently to the 
Casino band, audible in the distance. Adela 
sighed. At last Marjory broke the silence. 

1 When Mr Ruston comes,' she began, ' I 
shall ask him whether — ' 

The sentence was not finished. 

' When who comes ? ' cried Adela ; and 
Semingham opened his eyes and stilled his 

* Mr Ruston.' 


' Is he coming after all ? I thought, now 
that Dennison — ' 

' Oh, yes — he's coming with Walter. Didn't 
you know ? ' 

' Is he coming to-day ? ' 
' I suppose so. Aren't you glad ? ' 
' Of course,' from Adela, and, ' Oh, un- 
commonly,' from Lord Semingham, seemed at 
first sight answers satisfactory enough ; but 
Marjory's inquiring gaze rested on their faces. 

' Come for a stroll,' said Adela abruptly ; 
and passing her arm through Marjory's, she 
made her rise. Semingham, having gasped out 
his conventional reply, sat like a man of stone, 
but Adela, for all that it was needless, whispered 
imperatively, ' Stay where you are.' 

' Well, Marjory,' she went on, as they began 
to walk, ' I don't know that I am glad after 

' I believe you don't like him.' 
4 1 believe I don't,' said Adela slowly. It 
was a point she had not yet quite decided. 
' I didn't use to.' 
1 But you do now ? ' 
' Yes.' 

Adela hated the pregnant brevity of this 

' Mamma doesn't,' laughed Marjory. ' She's 
so angry at him carrying off Walter. As if 
it wasn't a grand thing for Walter ! So she's 
quite turned round about him.' 

' He's not staying in — with you, I suppose ? ' 
' Oh, no. Though I don't see why he 


shouldn't. Conventions are so stupid, aren't 
they? Mrs Dennison's there,' and Marjory- 
looked up with an appeal to calm reason as 
p&i sonified in Adela. 

Al another time, nineteen's view of twenty- 
nine — Marjory's conception of Maggie Dennison 
as a sufficing chaperon — would have amused 
Adela. But she was past amusement. Her 
patience snapped, as it were, in two. She 
turned almost fiercely on her companion, for- 
getting all prudence in her irritation. 

' For heaven's sake, child, what do you mean ? 
Do you think he's coming to see you ? ' 

Marjory drew her arm out from Adela's, and 
retreated a step from her. 

' Adela ! I never thought — ' She did not 
end, conscious, perhaps, that her flushed face 
gave her words the lie. Adela swept on. 

' You ! He's not coming to see you. I 
don't believe he's coming to see anyone — no, 
not even Maggie — I mean no one, at all.' 

The girl's look marked the fatal slip. 

' Oh ! ' she gasped, just audibly. 

' I don't believe he cares that for any of us 
— for anyone alive. Marjory, I didn't mean 
what I said about Maggie, I didn't indeed. 
Don't look like that. Oh, what a stupid girl 
you are,' and she ended with a half-hysterical 

For some moments they stood facing one 
another, saying nothing. The meaning of 
Adela's words was sinking into Marjory's 


' Let's walk on. People will wonder,' said 
she at last ; and she enlaced Adela's arm again. 
After another long pause, during which her 
face expressed the turmoil of her thoughts, she 

' Adela, is that why Mr Loring went away ? ' 

' I don't know why he went away.' 

' You think me a child, so you say you don't 
mean it now. You do mean it, you know. 
You wouldn't say a thing like that for nothing. 
Tell me what you do mean, Adela.' It was 
almost an order. Adela suddenly realised 
that she had struck down to a force and a 
character. 'Tell me exactly what you mean,' 
insisted Marjory; 'you ought to tell me, Adela.' 

Adela found herself obeying. 

1 1 don't know about him ; but I'm afraid of 
her,' she stammered, as if confessing a shameful 
deed of her own. A moment later she broke 
into entreaty. ' Go away, dear. Don't get mixed 
up in it. Don't have anything to do with him.' 

' Do you go away when your friends are in 
trouble or in danger ? ' 

Adela felt suddenly small — then wise — then 
small, because her wisdom was of a small kind. 
Yet she gave it utterance. 

' But, Marjory, think of — think of yourself. 
If you— ' 

' I know what you're going to say. If I care 
for him ? I don't. I hardly know him. But, 
if I did, I might — I might be of some use. 
And are you going to leave her all alone? I 
thought you were her friend. Are you just 


going to look on ? Though you think — what 
you think ! ' 

Adela caught hold of the girl's hands. There 
jr-as a choking in her throat, and she could say 

' But if he sees ? ' she murmured, when she 
found speech. 

' He won't see. There's nothing to see. I 
sha'n't show it. Adela, I shall stay. Why do 
you think what — what you think ? ' 

People might wonder, if they would — perhaps 
they did — when Adela drew Marjory towards 
her, and kissed her lips. 

1 1 couldn't, my dear,' she said, ' but, if you 
can, for heaven's sake do. I may be wrong, 
but — I'm uneasy.' 

Marjory's lips quivered, but she held her head 
proudly up ; then she sobbed a short quick- 
stifled sob, and then smiled. 

' I daresay it's not a bit true,' she said. 

Adela pressed her hand again, saying, 

' I'm an emotional old creature.' 

' Why did Mr Loring go away ? ' demanded 

' I don't know. He thought it — ' 

' Best ? Well, he was wrong.' 

Adela could not hear Tom attacked. 

' Maggie turned him out,' she said — which 
account of the matter was, perhaps, just a 
little one-sided, though containing a part of the 
truth. Marjory meditated on it for a moment, 
Adela still covertly looking at her. The 
discovery was very strange. Half-an-hour ago 


she had smiled because the girl hinted a 
longing after something beyond frocks, and 
had laughed at her simple acceptance of 
Semingham's joke. Now she found herself 
turning to her, looking to her for help in the 
trouble that had puzzled her. In her admiration 
of the girl's courage, she forgot to wonder at 
her intuition, her grasp of evil possibilities, 
the knowledge of Maggie Dennison that her 
resolve implied. Adela watched her, as, their 
farewell said, she walked, first quickly, then 
very slowly, towards the villa which Mrs 
Dennison had hired, on the cliff-side, near 
the old castle. Then, with a last sigh, she put 
up her parasol and sauntered back to the 
Hotel de Rome. Costume number two would 
be on by now, and Bessie Semingham ready 
for luncheon. 

Marjory, finally sunk into the slow gait that 
means either idleness or deep thought, made 
her way up to the villa. With every step she 
drew nearer, the burden she had taken up 
seemed heavier. It was not sorrow for the 
dawning dream that the storm-cloud had 
eclipsed that she really thought of. But the 
task loomed large in its true difficulty, as 
her first enthusiasm spent itself. If Adela 
were right, what could she do? If Adela were 
wrong, what unpardonable offence she might 
give. Ah, was Adela right ? Strange and new 
as the idea was, there was an unquestioning 
conviction in her manner that Marjory could 
hardly resist. Save under the stress of a 


conviction, speech on such a matter would 
have been an impossible crime. And Marjory 
remembered, with a sinking heart, Maggie 
"Ekmnison's smile of happy triumph when she 
rciu out the lines in which Ruston told of his 
coming. Yes, it was, or it might be, true. But 
where lay her power to help ? 

Coming round the elbow of the rising path, 
she caught sight of Maggie Dennison sitting 
in the garden. Mrs Dennison wore white ; her 
pale clear-cut profile was towards Marjory ; 
she rested her chin on her hand, and her elbow 
on her knee, and she was looking on the 
ground. Softly Marjory drew near. An un- 
opened letter from Harry lay on a little table ; 
the children had begun their mid-day meal in 
the room, whose open window was but a few 
feet behind ; Mrs Dennison's thoughts were 
far away. Marjory stopped short. A stronger 
buffet of fear, a more overwhelming sense of 
helplessness, smote her. She understood better 
why Adela had been driven to do nothing — 
to look on. She smiled for an instant ; the idea 
put itself so whimsically ; but she thought that, 
had Mrs Dennison been walking over a preci- 
pice, it would need all one's courage to interfere 
with her. She would think it such an imper- 
tinence. And Ruston ? Marjory saw, all in a 
minute, his cheerful scorn, his unshaken deter- 
mination, his rapid dismissal of one more 
obstacle. She drew in her breath in a long 
inspiration, and Mrs Dennison raised her eyes 
and smiled. 


' I believe I felt you there/ she said smiling. 
' At least, I began to think of you.' 

Marjory sat near her hostess. 

' Did you meet anyone ? ' asked Mrs Dennison. 

' Adela Ferrars and Lord Semingham.' 

' Well, had they anything to say ? ' 

' No — I don't think so,' she answered slowly. 

' What should they have to say in this place ? 
The children have begun. Aren't you hungry ? ' 

' Not very.' 

' Well, I am,' and Mrs Dennison rose. ' I 
forgot it, but I am.' 

' They didn't know Mr Ruston was coming.' 

' Didn't they ? ' smiled Mrs Dennison. ' And 
has Adela forgiven you ? Oh, you know, the 
poor boy is a friend of hers, as he is of mine.' 

' We didn't talk about it.' 

' And you don't want to ? Very well, we 
won't. See, here's a long letter — it's very 
heavy, at least — from Harry. I must read it 

' Perhaps it's to say he can come sooner.' 

' I expect not,' said Mrs Dennison, and she 
opened the letter. ' No ; a fortnight hence at 
the soonest,' she announced, after reading a 
few lines. 

Marjory was both looking and listening 
closely, but she detected neither disappoint- 
ment nor relief. 

1 He's seen Tom Loring ! Oh, and Tom 
sends me his best remembrances. Poor Tom ! 
Marjory, does Adela talk about Mr Loring ? ' 

' She mentioned him once.' 


' She thinks it was all my fault,' laughed 
Mrs Dennison. ' A woman always thinks it's 
a woman's fault ; at least, that's our natural 
tendency, though we're being taught to over- 
come it- Marjory, you look dull ! It will be 
livelier for you when your brother and Mr 
Ruston come.' 

The hardest thing about great resolves 
and lofty moods is their intermixture with 
everyday life. The intervals, the ' waits,' the 
mass of irrelevant trivialities that life inartisti- 
cally mingles with its drama, flinging down 
pell-mell a heap of great and small — these 
cool courage and make discernment distrust 
itself. Mrs Dennison seemed so quiet, so 
placid, so completely the affectionate but not 
anxious wife, the kind hostess, and even the 
human gossip, that Marjory wanted to rub her 
eyes, wondering if all her heroics were non- 
sense — a girl's romance gone wrong. There 
was nothing to be done but eat and drink, 
and talk and lounge in the sun — there was no 
hint of a drama, no call for a rescue, no place 
for a sacrifice. And Marjory had been all 
aglow to begin. Her face grew dull and her 
eyelids half-dropped as she leant her head on 
the back of her chair. 

'Dejeuner /' cried Mrs Dennison merrily. 
' And this afternoon we're all going to gamble 
at petits chevatcx, and if we win we're going 
to buy more Omofagas. There's a picture of a 
speculator's family ! ' 

' Mr Dcnnison's not a speculator, is he ?' 


' Oh, it depends on what you mean. Any- 
how, I am ; ' and Mrs Dennison, waving her 
letter in the air and singing softly, almost 
danced in her merry walk to the house. 
Then, crying her last words, ' Be quick ! ' 
from the door, she disappeared. 

A moment later she was laughing and 
chattering to her children. Marjory heard her 
burlesque complaints over the utter disappear- 
ance of an omelette she had set her heart 

That afternoon they all played at petits 
chevaux, and the only one to win was Madge. 
But Madge utterly refused to invest her gains 
in Omofagas. She assigned no reasons, stating 
that her mother did not like her to declare 
the feeling which influenced her, and Mrs 
Dennison laughed again. But Adela Ferrars 
would not look towards Marjory, but kept 
her eyes on an old gentleman who had been 
playing also, and playing with good fortune. 
He had looked round curiously when, in the 
course of the chaff, they had mentioned 
Omofaga, and Adela detected in him the wish 
to look again. She wondered who he was, 
scrutinising his faded blue eyes and the 
wrinkles of weariness on his brow. Willie 
Ruston could have told her. It was Baron 
von Geltschmidt of Frankfort. 



IN all things evil and good, to the world, and — 
a thing quite rare — to himself, Willie Ruston 
was an unaffected man. Success, the evi- 
dence of power and the earnest of more power, 
gave him his greatest pleasure, and he received 
it with his greatest and most open satisfaction. 
It did not surprise him, but it elated him, and 
his habit was to conceal neither the presence 
of elation nor the absence of surprise. That 
irony in the old sense, which means the well- 
bred though hardly sincere depreciation of a 
man's own qualities and achievements, was not 
his. When he had done anything, he liked to 
dine with his friends and talk it over. He had 
been sharing the Carlins' unfashionable six 
o'clock meal at Hampstead this evening, and 
had taken the train to Baker Street, and was 
now sauntering home with a cigar. He had 
talked the whole thing over with them. Carlin 
had said that no one could have managed the 
affair so well as he had, and Mrs Carlin had not 
once referred to that lost tabula in naufragio, 



the coal business. Yes, his attack on London 
had been a success. He had known nothing of 
London, save that its denizens were human 
beings, and that knowledge, whether in busi- 
ness or society, had been enough. His great 
scheme was floated ; a few months more would 
see him in Omofaga ; there was money to last 
for a long time to come ; and he had been cor- 
dially received and even made a lion of in the 
drawing-rooms. They would look for his name 
in the papers (' and find it, by Jove,' he inter- 
polated). Men in high places would think of 
him when there was a job to be ' put through ; ' 
and women, famous in regions inaccessible to 
the vulgar, would recollect their talks with Mr 
Ruston. Decidedly they were human beings, 
and therefore, raw as he was (he just knew that 
he had come to them a little raw), he had 

Yet they were, some of them, strange folk. 
There were complications in them which he 
found it necessary to reconnoitre. They said a 
great many things which they did not think, 
and, en revanche, would often only hint what they 
did. And — But here he yawned, and, finding 
his cigar out, relit it. He was not in the mood 
for analysing his acquaintance. He let his 
fancy play more lightly. It was evening, and 
work was done. He liked London evenings. 
He had liked bandying repartees with Adela 
Ferrars (though she had been too much for 
him if she could have kept her temper) ; he 
liked talking to Marjory Valentine and seeing 


her occupied with his ideas. Most of all, he 
liked trying to catch Maggie Dennison's thought 
a^ it flashed out for a moment, and fled to 
shelter again. He had laughed again and again 
over the talk that Tom Loring had interrupted 
— and not less because of the interruption. 
There was little malice in him, and he bore no 
grudge against Tom. Even his anger at the 
Omofaga articles had been chiefly for public 
purposes and public consumption. It was al- 
ways somebody's ' game ' to spoil his game, and 
one must not quarrel with men for playing 
cheir own hands. Tom amused him, and had 
amused him especially by his behaviour over 
that talk. No doubt the position had looked 
a strange one. Tom had been so shocked. 
Poor Tom ! It must be very curious to be so 
easily shocked. Mr Ruston was not easily 

Unaffected, free from self - consciousness, 
undividedly bent on his schemes, unheeding of 
everything but their accomplishment, he had 
spent little time in considering the considerable 
stir which he had, in fact, created in the circle 
of his more intimate associates. They had 
proved pliable and pleasant, and these were 
the qualities he liked in his neighbours. They 
said agreeable things to him, and they did 
what he wanted. He had stayed not (save 
once, and half in jest, with Maggie Dennison) 
to inquire why, and the quasi-real, quasi-bur- 
lesque apprehension of him — burlesqued perhaps 
lest it should seem too real — which had grown 


up among such close observers as Adela Fer- 
rars and Semingham, would have struck him 
as absurd, the outcome of that idle business of 
brain which weaves webs of fine fancies round 
the obvious, and loses the power of action in the 
fascination of self-created puzzles. The nuances 
of a woman's attraction towards a man, whether 
it be admiration, or interest, or pass beyond — 
whether it be liking and just not love — or 
interest running into love — or love masquerad- 
ing as interest, or what-not, Willie Ruston 
recked little of. He was a man, and a young 
man. He liked women and clever women — 
yes, and handsome women. But to spend 
your time thinking of or about women, or, worse 
still, of or about what women thought of you, 
seemed poor economy of precious days — 
amusing to do, maybe, in spare hours, inevit- 
able now and again — but to be driven or 
laughed away when there was work to be 

Such was the colour of his floating thoughts, 
and the loose-hung meditation brought him to 
his own dwelling, in a great building which 
overlooked Hyde Park. He lived high up in 
a small, irregular, many-cornered room, sparely- 
furnished, dull and pictureless. The only thing 
hanging on the walls was a large scale map 
of Omofaga and the neighbouring territories ; 
in lieu of nicnacks there stood on the mantel- 
piece lumps of ore, specimens from the mines 
of Omofaga (would not these convince the most 
obstinate unbeliever ?), and, half-smothered by 


ill-dusted papers, a small photograph of Ruston 
and a potent Omofagan chief seated on the 
ground with a large piece of paper before them 
— a treaty no doubt. A well-worn sofa, second- 
hand and soft, and a deep arm-chair redeemed 
the place from utter comfortlessness, but it was 
plain that beauty in his daily surroundings was 
not essential to Willie Ruston. He did not 
notice furniture. 

He walked in briskly, but stopped short 
with his hand still on the knob of the door. 
Harry Dennison lay on the sofa, with his 
arm flung across his face. He sprang up on 
Ruston's entrance. 

'Hullo! Been here long? I've been din- 
ing with Carlin,' said Ruston, and, going to a 
cupboard, he brought out whisky and soda water. 

Harry Dennison began to explain his pre- 
sence. In the first place he had nothing to 
do ; in the second he wanted someone to 
talk to; in the third — at last he blurted it 
out — the first, second, third and only reason 
for his presence. 

' I don't believe I can manage alone in town,' 
he said. 

' Not manage ? There's nothing to do. 
And Carlin's here.' 

1 You see I've got other work besides Omo- 
faga,' pleaded Harry. 

' Oh, I know Dennisons have lots of irons 
in the fire. But Omofaga won't trouble you. 
I've told Carlin to wire me if any news comes, 
and I can be back in a few hours.' 



Harry had come to suggest that the ex- 
pedition to Dieppe should be abandoned for 
a week or two. He got no chance and sat 

' It's all done,' continued Ruston. ' The 
stores are all on their way. Jackson is wait- 
ing for them on the coast. Why, the train will 
start inland in a couple of months from now. 
They'll go very slow though. I shall catch 
them up all right.' 

Harry brightened a little. 

' Belford said it was uncertain when you 
would start,' he said. 

' It may be uncertain to Belford, it's not to 
me,' observed Mr Ruston, lighting his pipe. 

The speech sounded unkind ; but Mr Bel- 
ford's mind dwelt in uncertainty contentedly. 

' Then you think of — ? ' 

'My dear Dennison, I don't 'think' at all. 
To-day's the 12th of August. Happen what 
may, I sail on the ioth of November. No- 
thing will keep me after that — nothing.' 

' Belford started for the Engadine to- 

' Well, he won't worry you then. Let it 
alone, my dear fellow. It's all right.' 

Clearly Mr Ruston meant to go to Dieppe. 
That was now to Harry Dennison bad news ; 
but he meant to go to Omofaga also, and 
to go soon ; that was good. Harry, however, 
had still something that he wished to con- 
vey — a bit of diplomacy to carry out. 

' I hope you'll find Maggie better,' he 


began. ' She was rather knocked up when 
she went.' 

' A few days will have put her all right,' 
responded Ruston cheerfully. 

He was never ill and treated fatigue with a 
cheery incredulousness. But, at least, he spoke 
with an utter absence of undue anxiety on 
the score of another man's wife. 

Harry Dennison, primed by Mrs Cormack's 
suggestions, went on, 

1 1 wish you'd talk to her as little as you 
can about Omofaga. She's very interested 
in it, you know, and — and very excitable — 
and all that. We want her mind to get a 
complete rest.' 

1 Hum. I expect, then, I mustn't talk to 
her at all.' 

The manifest impossibility of making such 
a request did not prevent Harry yearning 
after it. 

' I don't ask that,' he said, smiling weakly. 

' It won't hurt her,' said Willie Ruston. 
'And she likes it.' 

She liked it beyond question. 

' It tires her,' Harry persisted. ■ It — it gets 
on her nerves. It absorbs her too much.' 

His face was turned up to Ruston. As 
he spoke the last words, Ruston directed his 
eyes, suddenly and rapidly, upon him. Harry 
could not escape the encounter of eyes ; 
hastily he averted his head, and his face 
flushed. Ruston continued to look at him, 
a slight smile on his lips. 


' Absorbs her ? ' he repeated slowly, finger- 
ing his beard. 

' Well, you know what I mean.' 

Another long stare showed Ruston's medi- 
tative preoccupation. Harry sat uncomfort- 
able under it, wishing he had not let fall 
the word. 

'Well, I'll be careful,' said Ruston at last. 
' Anything else ? ' 

Harry rose. Ruston carried an atmosphere 
of business about with him, and the visit 
seemed naturally to end with the business 
of it. Taking his hat, Harry moved towards 
the door. Then, pausing, he smiled in an 
embarrassed way, and remarked, 

' You can talk to Marjory Valentine, you know.' 

' So I can. She's a nice girl.' 

Harry twirled his hat in his fingers. His 
brain had conceived more diplomacy. 

' It'll be fine chance for you to win her heart,' 
he suggested with a tentative laugh. 

' 1 might do worse,' said Willie Ruston. 

' You might — much worse,' said Harry 

' Aren't you rather giving away your friend 
young Haselden?' 

' Who told you, Ruston ? ' 

' Lady Val. Who told you ? ' 

' Semingham.' 

• Ah ! Well, what would Haselden say to 
your idea ? ' 

'Well, she won't have him — he's got no 
chance anyhow.' 


'All right. I'll think about it. Good- 

He watched his guest depart, but did not 
accompany him on his way, and, left alone, 
sat down in the deep arm-chair. His smile 
was still on his lips. Poor Harry Dennison 
was a transparent schemer — one of those whose 
clumsy efforts to avert what they fear effects 
naught save to suggest the doing of it. Yet 
Willie Ruston's smile had more pity than 
scorn in it. True, it had more of amuse- 
ment than of either. He could have taken 
a slate and written down all Harry's thoughts 
during the interview. But whence had come 
the change? Why had Dennison himself 
bidden him to Dieppe, to come now, a fort- 
night later, and beg him not to go? Why 
did he now desire his wife to hear no more 
of Omofaga, whose chief delight in it had 
been that it caught her fancy and imparted 
to him some of the interest she found in it? 
Ruston saw in the transformation the work- 
ing of another mind. 

1 Somebody's been putting it into his head,' 
he muttered, still half-amused, but now half- 
angry also. 

And, with his usual rapidity of judgment, 
he darted unhesitatingly to a conclusion. 
He identified the hand in the business ; he 
recognised whose more subtle thoughts Harry 
Dennison had stumbled over and mauled 
in his painful devices. But to none is it 
given to be infallible, and want of doubt 


does not always mean absence of error. 
Forgetting this common-place truth, Willie 
Ruston slapped his thigh, leapt up from his 
chair and, standing on the rug, exclaimed, 

1 Loring — by Jove ! ' 

It was clear to him. Loring was his enemy ; 
he had displaced Loring. Loring hated him 
and Omofaga. Loring had stirred a husband's 
jealousy to further his own grudge. The same 
temper of mind that made his anger fade away 
when he had arrived at this certainty, prevented 
any surprise at the discovery. It was natural 
in man to seek revenge, to use the nearest 
weapon, to counter stroke with stroke, not to 
throw away any advantages for the sake of 
foibles of generosity. So, then, it was Lor- 
ing who bade him not go to Dieppe, who 
prayed him not to ' absorb ' Mrs Dennison in 
Omofaga, who was ready, notwithstanding 
his hatred and distrust, to see him the lover 
of Marjory Valentine sooner than the too 
engrossing friend of Mrs Dennison ! What a 
fool they must think him ! — and, with this 
reflection, he put the whole matter out of his 
head. It could wait till he was at Dieppe, and, 
taking hold of the great map by the roller 
at the bottom, he drew it to him. Then he 
reached and lifted the lamp from the table, 
and set it high on the mantelpiece. Its light 
shone now on his path, and with his finger 
he traced the red line that ran, curving and 
winding, inwards from the coast, till it touched 
the blue letters of the ' Omofaga ' that sprawled 



icross the map. The line ended in a cross 
oi red paint. The cross was Fort Imperial — 
was to be Fort Imperial, at least; but Willie 
Ruston's mind overleapt all difference of tenses. 
He stood and looked, pulling hard and fast at 
his pipe. He was there — there in Fort Imperial 
already — far away from London and London 
folk — from weak husbands and their causes 
of anxiety — from the pleasing recreations of 
fascinating society, from the covert attacks of 
men whose noses he had put out of joint. 
He forgot them all ; their feelings became 
naught to him. What mattered their graces, 
their assaults, their weal or woe? He was in 
Omofaga, carving out of its rock a stable seat, 
carving on the rock face, above the seat, a name 
that should live. 

At last he turned away, flinging his empty 
pipe on the table and dropping the map from 
his hand. 

1 1 shall go to bed,' he said. ' Three months 
more of it ! ' 

And to bed he went, never having thought 
once during the whole evening of a French 
lady, who liked to get amusement out of her 
neighbours, and had stayed in town on purpose 
to have some more talks with Harry Dennison. 
Had Willie Ruston not been quite so sure 
that he read Tom Loring's character aright, 
he might have spared a thought for Mrs 



'"pOM LORING had arranged to spend the 
JL whole of the autumn in London. His 
Omofaga articles had gained such favour- 
able notice that his editor had engaged him 
to contribute a series dealing with African 
questions and African companies (and the 
latter are in the habit of producing the former), 
while he was occupied, on his own account, at 
the British Museum, in making way with a 
treatise of a politico-philosophical description, 
which had been in his head for several years. 
He hailed with pleasure the prospect of getting 
on with it ; the leisure afforded him by his 
departure from the Dennisons was, in its way, 
a consolation for the wrench involved in the 
parting. Could he have felt more at ease 
about the course of events in his absence, he 
would have endured his sojourn in town with 

Of course, the place was fast becoming a 
desert, but, at this moment, chance, which 
always objects to our taking things for granted, 



brought a carriage exactly opposite the bench 
i n which Tom was seated, and he heard his 
;.ame called in a high-pitched voice that he re- 
cognised. Looking up, he saw Mrs Cormack 
leaning over the side of her victoria, smiling 
effusively and beckoning to him. That every- 
one should go save Mrs Cormack seemed to 
Tom the irony of circumstance. With a mutter 
to himself, he rose and walked up to the 
carriage. He then perceived, to his surprise, 
that it contained, hidden behind Mrs Cor- 
mack's sleeves — sleeves were large that year 
— another inmate. It was Evan Haselden, 
and he greeted Tom with an off-hand 

'The good God,' cried Mrs Cormack, 'evi- 
dently kept me here to console young men ! 
Are you left desolate like Mr Haselden 
here ? ' 

'Well, it's not very lively,' responded Tom, 
as amiably as he could. 

'No, it isn't,' she agreed, with the slightest 
quickest glance at Evan, who was staring 
moodily at the tops of the trees. 

Tom laughed. The woman amused him in 
spite of himself. And her failures to extract 
entertainment from poor heart-broken Evan 
struck him as humorous. 

'Bid I'm at work,' he went on, 'so I don't 

Ah ! Are you still crushing — ?' 
'No,' interrupted Tom quickly. 'That's 


' I should not have guessed it,' said Mrs 
Cormack, opening her eyes. 

' I mean, I've finished the articles on that 

' That is rather a different thing,' laughed 

' I'm afraid so,' said Tom. 

' I wish to heaven it wasn't ! ' ejaculated Evan 
suddenly, without shifting his gaze from the 

' Oh, he is very very bad,' whispered Mrs 
Cormack. ' Poor young man ! Are you bad 


' Oh, but I know.' 

' Oh, no, you don't,' said Tom. 

Suddenly Evan rose, opened the carriage 
door, got out, shut it, and lifted his hat. 

' Good-bye,' said Mrs Cormack, smiling 

' Good-bye. Thanks,' said Evan, with un- 
changed melancholy, and, with another nod to 
Tom, he walked round to the path and strode 
quickly away. 

' How absurd ! ' said she. 

' Not at all. I like to see him honest 
about it. He's hard hit — and he's not ashamed 
of it.' 

1 Oh, well,' said Mrs Cormack, shrugging 
the subject away in weariness of it. ' And 
how do you stand banishment ? Will you 
get in ? ' 

' Yes, if you won't assume — ' 


1 Too great familiarity, Mr Loring ? ' 

1 Oh, I was only going to say — with my 
affairs. With me — I should be charmed,' and 
Tom settled himself in the victoria. 

He had, now he came to think of it, been 
really very much bored ; and the little woman 
was quite a resource. 

She rewarded his ironical gallantry with a 
look that told him she took it for what it was 
worth, but liked it all the same; and, after a 
pause, asked, 

' And you see Mr Dennison often ?' 

1 Very seldom, on the contrary. I don't know 
what he does with himself.' 

' The poor man ! He walks up and down. 
I hear him walking up and down.' 

« What does he do that for ? ' 

4 Ah ! what ? Well, he cannot be happy, 
can he ? ' 

1 Can't he ? ' said Tom, determined to un- 
derstand nothing. 

' You are very discreet,' she said, with a 
malicious smile. 

' I'm obliged to be. Somebody must be.' 

' Mr Loring,' she said abruptly, ' }'OU don't 
like me, neither you nor Miss Ferrars.' 

1 I never answer for others. For my- 

' Oh, I know. What does it matter ? Well, 
anyhow, I'm sorry for that poor man.' 

' Your sympathy is very ready, Mrs Cor- 

1 You mean it is too soon — premature ? ' 


' I mean it's altogether unnecessary, to my 
humble thinking.' 

' But I'm not a fool,' she protested. 

Tom could not help laughing. The laugh, 
however, rather spoilt his argument. 

' Have it your own way,' he conceded, con- 
scious of his error, and trying to cover it by 
a burlesque surrender. ' He's miserable.' 

' Well, he is.' 

There was a placid certainty about her that 
disturbed Tom's attitude of incredulity. 

' Why is he ? ' he asked curiously. 

' I have talked to him. I know,' she an- 
swered, with a nod full of meaning. 

' Oh, have you ? ' 

4 Yes, and he — well, do you want to hear, 
or will you be angry and despise me as you 
used ? ' 

' I want to hear.' 

' What did I use to say ? That the man 
would come? Well, he has come. Voila 
tout ! ' 

' Oh, so you say. But Harry doesn't think 
such — I beg pardon, I was about to say, 

' Yes, he does. At least, he is afraid of it' 

' How do you know ? ' 

' I tell you, we have talked. And I saw. 
He almost cried that he couldn't go to 
Dieppe, and that somebody else — ' 

Tom suddenly turned upon her. 

' Who began the talk ? ' he demanded. 

' What do you say ? ' 

t> x 


1 Who began ? ' 

.* Oh, what nonsense ! Who does begin to 
talk? How do I know? It came, Mr Loring.' 

Tom said nothing. 

' You look as if you didn't believe me,' 
she remarked, pouting. 

' I don't. He's the most unsuspicious fellow 

'Well, if you like, I began. I'm not ashamed. 
But I said very little. When he asked me if 
I thought it good that she and — the other — 
should be together out there and he here — 
well, was I to say yes ? ' 

1 I think,' observed Tom, in quiet and deli- 
berate tones, ' that it's a great pity that some 
women can't be gagged.' 

' They can, but only with kisses,' said Mrs 
Cormack, not at all offended. ' Oh, don't be 
frightened. I do not wish to be gagged at 
all. If I did — there is more than one man in 
the world.' 

Tom despised and half- hated her; but 
he liked her good-nature, and, in his heart, 
admired her for not flinching. Her shame- 
lessness was crossed with courage. 

' So you've made him miserable ? ' 

•Well, I might say, I, a wicked French- 
woman, that it is better to be deceived than 
to be wretched. But you, an Englishman! 
Oh, never, Mr Loring ! ' 

Tom sat silent a little while. 

' I don't know what to do,' he said, hall in 


' Who thought you would ? ' asked Mrs Cor- 
mack, unkindly. 

' I believe it's all a mare's nest' 

* That means a mistake, a delusion ? ' 

* It does.' 

' Then I don't think you do believe it. And, 
if you do, you are wrong. It is nor all a — a 
mare's nest.' 

She pronounced the word with unfamiliar 

Tom knew that he did not believe that it 
was all a mare's nest. He would have given 
everything in the world — save one thing — 
and that, he thought, he had not got — to 
believe it. 

' Then, if you believed it, why didn't you 
do something?' he asked rather fiercely. 

' What have you all done ? I, at least, 
warned him. Yes, since you insist, I hinted 
it. But you — you ran away ; and your Adela 
Ferrars, she looks prim and pained, oh ! and 
shocked, and doesn't come so much.' 

It was a queer source to learn lessons from, 
and Tom was no less surprised than Adela 
had been a day or two before at Dieppe. 

' What should you do ? ' he asked, in new- 
born humility. 

' I ? Nothing. What is it to me ? ' 

' What should you do, if you were 

' Make love to her myself,' smiled Mrs Cor- 
mack. She was having her revenge on Tom 
for many a scornful speech. 

'is v 


' If you'd held your tongue, it would all 
have blown over!' he exclaimed in exaspera- 

' It will blow over still ; but it will blow 
first,' she said. ' If that contents you, hold 
your tongue.' 

Then she turned to Tom, and laid a small 
forefinger on his arm. 

1 Mark this,' said she, ' he does not care for 
her. He cares for himself; she is — what 
would you say ? an incident — an accident — 
I do not know how to say it — to him.' 

' Well, if you're right there — ' began Tom 
in some relief. 

'If I'm right there, it will make no differ- 
ence — at first. But, as you say, it will blow 
over — and sooner.' 

Tom looked at her, and thought and looked 

' By Jove, you're not a fool, Mrs Cormack,' 
said he, almost under his breath. 

Then he added, louder, 

' It's the wisdom of the devil.' 

' Oh, you surpass yourself,' she smiled. 
1 Your compliments are magnificent.' 

' You must have learnt it from him.' 

' Oh, no. From my husband,' said Mrs 

The carriage, which during their talk had 
moved slowly round the circle, stopped 

Mrs Cormack turned to Tom. He was al- 
ready looking at her. 


' I don't understand you,' said he. 

' No ? Well, you'll hardly believe it, but 
that does not surprise me.' 

' I'm not sure you don't mean well, if you 
weren't ashamed to confess it,' said Tom. 

For the first time since he had known her, 
she blushed and looked embarrassed. Then 
she began, in a quick tone, 

' Well, I talked. I wanted to see how he 
took it ; and it amused me. And — well, our 
dear Maggie — she is so very magnificent at 
times. She looks down so calmly — oh, from 
such a height — on one. She had told me 
that day — well, never mind that; it was true, 
I daresay. I don't love truth. I don't see 
what right people have to say things to me, 
just because one may know they are true.' 

'So you made a little mischief?' 

' Well, I hear that poor man walking up and 
down. I want to comfort him. I asked him 
to come in, and he refused. Then I offered 
to go in — he was very frightened. Oh, mon 
Dieu ! ' and she laughed almost hysterically. 

This very indirect confession proved in the 
end to be all that Mrs Cormack's penitence 
could drive her to, and Tom left her, feeling 
a little softened towards her, but hardly better 
equipped for action. What, indeed, could be 
done ? Tom's sense of futility expressed it- 
self in a long letter to Adela Ferrars. As he 
had no suggestions for present action, he took 
refuge in future promises. 

' It will be very awkward for me to come, 


but if, as time goes on, you think I should be 
-any good, I will come.' 

And Adela, when she read it, was tempted 
to send for him on the spot ; he would have 
been of no use, but he would have comforted 
her. But then his presence would unques- 
tionably exasperate Maggie Dennison. Adela 
decided to wait. 

Now, by the time Tom Loring's letter 
reached Dieppe, young Sir Walter and Willie 
Ruston were on the boat, and they arrived 
hard on its heels. They took up their abode 
at a hotel a few doors from where the 
Seminghams were staying, and Walter at 
once went round to pay his respects. 

Ruston stayed in to write letters. So he 
said ; but when he was alone he stood smok- 
ing at the window and looking at the people 
down below. Presently, to his surprise, he 
saw the same old gentleman whom Adela had 
noticed in the Casino. 

1 The Baron, by Jove ! ' he exclaimed. ' Now, 
what brings him here ? ' 

The Baron was sauntering slowly by, wrapped 
in a cloak, and leaning heavily on a malacca 
cane. In a moment Willie Ruston was down 
the stairs and after him. 

Hearing his name cried, the Baron stopped 
and turned round. 

'What chance brings you here?' asked 
Willie, holding out his hand. 

4 Oh, hardly chance,' said the Baron. ' 1 
always go to some seaside place, and I 


thought I might meet friends here,' and he 
smiled significantly. 

' Yes,' said Ruston, after a pause ; ' I believe 
I did mention it in Threadneedle Street. I 
was in there the other day.' 

By the general term Threadneedle Street he 
meant to indicate the offices of the Baron's 
London correspondents, which were situate 

' They keep you informed, it seems ? ' 

' I live by being kept informed,' said the 

Ruston was walking by him, accommodating 
his pace to the old man's feeble walk. 

' You mean you came to see me ? ' he 

' Well, if you'll forgive the liberty — in part.' 

'And why did you want me?' 

' Oh, I've not lost all interest in Omo- 

' No, you haven't,' said Ruston. ' On the 
contrary, you've been increasing your interest' 

The Baron stopped and looked at him. 

1 Oh, you know that ? ' 

1 Certainly.' 

The Baron laughed. 

' Then you can tell me whether I shall lose 
my money,' he said. 

' Do you ever lose your money, Baron ? ' 

1 But am I to hear about Omofaga ? ' asked 
the Baron, countering question by question. 

' As much as you like,' answered Ruston, 
with the indifference ot perfect candour. 


'Ah, by the way, I have heard about it 
already. Who are the ladies here who talk 
about it?' 

Willie Ruston gave a careful catalogue of 
all the persons in Dieppe who were interested 
in the Omofaga Company. The Baron identi- 
fied the Seminghams and Adela. Then he 

' And the other lady is Mrs Dennison, is 

' She is. I'm going to her house to-morrow. 
Shall I take you ? ' 

' I should be charmed.' 

' Very well. To-morrow afternoon.' 

'And you'll dine with me to-night?' 

Ruston was about to refuse ; but the Baron 
added, half seriously, 

' I've come a long way to see you.' 

1 All right, I'll come,' he said. Then he 
paused a moment, and looked at the Baron 
curiously. ' And perhaps you'll tell me then/ 
he added. 

' Why I've come?' 

' Yes ; and why you've been buying. You 
were bought out. What do you want to come 
in again for ? ' 

' I'll tell you all that now,' said the Baron. 
' I've come because I thought I should like to 
see some more of you ; and I've been buying 
because I fancy you'll make a success of it.' 

Willie Ruston pulled his beard thought- 

' Don't you believe me ? ' asked the Baron. 


' Let's wait a bit,' suggested Ruston. Then, 
with a sudden twinkle of his eye, his holiday 
mood seemed to come back again. Seizing 
the Baron's arm, he pressed it, and said with 
a laugh, ' I say, Baron, if you want to get 
control over Omofaga — ' 

' But, my dear friend — ' protested the Baron. 

' If you do — I only say "if" — I'm not the 
only man you've got to fight. Well, yes, I 
am the only man! 

' My dear young iriend, I don't understand 
you,' pleaded the Baron. 

' We'll go and see Mrs Dennison to-morrow,' 
said Willie Ruston. 

' -i « 



It was the morning of the next day. 
Mrs Dcnnison sat in her place in the 
little garden on the cliff, and Willie Ruston 
stood just at the turn of the mounting path, 
where Marjory had paused to look at her 

1 Well, here I am,' said he. 

She did not move, but held out her hand. 
He advanced and took it. 

• I met your children down below,' he went 
on, ' but rhey would hardly speak to me. Why 
don't they like me?' 

' Never mind the children.' 

' But I do mind. Most children like me.' 

' How is everything ? ' 



' In London ? Oh, first-rate. I saw your 
husband the — ' 

' I mean, how is Omofaga ? ' 

1 Capital ; and here ? ' 

' It has been atrociously dull. What could 
you expect ? ' 

'Well, I didn't expect that, or I shouldn't 
have come.' 

' Are the stores started ? ' 

' I thought it was holiday time ? Well, yes, 
they are.' 

She had been looking at him ever since he 
came, and at last he noticed it. 

1 Do I look well ? ' he asked in joke. 

' You know, it's rather a pleasure to look at 
you,' she replied. ' I've been feeling so shut 
in,' and she pushed her hair back from her 
forehead, and glanced at him with a bright 
smile. ' And it's really going well ? ' 

'So well,' he nodded, 'that everything's quiet, 
and the preparations well ahead. In three 
months ' (and his enthusiasm began to get 
hold of him) 'I shall be off; in two more 
I hope to be actually there, and then — why, 
forward ! ' 

She had listened at first with sparkling eyes ; 
as he finished, her lids drooped, and she leant 
back in her chair. There was a moment's 
silence ; then she said in a low voice, 

' Three months ! ' 

' It oughtn't to take more than two, if Jackson 
has arranged things properly for me.' 

Evidently he was thinking of his march up 


cuuntiy ; but it was the first three months that 
were in her mind. She had longed to see the 
thing really started, hastened by all her efforts 
the hour that was to set him at work, and 
dreamt of the day when he should set foot 
in Omofaga. Now all this seemed assured, 
imminent, almost present ; yet there was no 
exultation in her tone. 

' I meant, before you started,' she said slowly. 

He looked up in surprise. 

' I can't manage sooner,' he said, defending 
himself. ' You know I don't waste time.' 

He was still off the scent ; and even she 
herself was only now, for the first time and as 
yet dimly, realising her own mind. 

' I have to do everything myself,' he said. 
'Dear old Carlin can't walk a step alone, and 
the Board ' — he paused, remembering that 
Harry Dennison was on the Board — ' well, 
I find it hard to make them move as quick 
as I want. I had to fix a date, and I fixed 
the earliest I could be absolutely sure of.' 

' Why don't they help you more ? ' she burst 
out indignantly. 

' Oh, I don't want help.' 

'Yes, but I helped you ! ' she exclaimed, lean- 
ing forward, full again of animation. 

' I can't deny it,' he laughed. ' You did 

1 Yes,' she said, and became again silent. 

' Apropos', said he. ' I want to bring some- 
one to see you this afternoon — Baron von 


' Who ? ' 

' He was the German capitalist, you know.' 

1 What ! Why, what's he doing here ? ' 

1 He came to see me — so he says. May I 
bring him ? ' 

' Why, yes. He's a great — a great man, 
isn't he?' ' 

' Well, he's a great financier.' 

1 And he came to see you ? ' 

' So he says.' 

' And don't you believe him ? ' 

' I don't know. I want your opinion,' answered 
Ruston, with a smile. 

' Are you serious ? ' she asked quickly. ' I 
mean, do you really want my opinion, or are 
you being polite? ' 

' I don't think you a fool, you know,' said 
Willie Ruston. 

She flashed a glance of understanding, mingled 
with reproach, at him, and, leaning forward 
again, said, 

' Has he come about Omofaga ? ' 

' That you might tell me too — or will you 
want all Omofaga if you do so much ? ' 

For a moment she smiled in recollection. 
Then her face grew sad. 

' Much of Omofaga I shall have ! ' she 

' Oh, I'll write,' he promised carelessly. 

' Write ! ' she repeated in low, scornful tones. 
'Would you like to be written to about it? 
It'll happen to you, and I'm to be written 


' Well, then, I won't write.' 

• Yes, do write.' 

Willie Ruston smiled tolerantly, but his 
smile was suddenly cut short, for Mrs Denni- 
son, not looking at him but out to sea, asked 
herself in a whisper, which was plainly not 
meant for him though he heard it, 

' How shall I bear it ? ' 

He had been tilting his chair back ; he 
brought the front legs suddenly on to the 
ground again and asked, 

' Bear what ? ' 

She started to find he had heard, but at- 
tempted evasion. 

'When you've gone,' she answered in simple 

He looked at her with raised eyebrows. 
There was no embarrassment in her face, and 
no tremble in her voice ; and no passion could 
he detect in either. 

' How flat it will all be/ she added in a tone 
of utter weariness. 

He was half-pleased, half-piqued at the way 
she seemed to look at him. It not onlv failed 
to satisfy him, but stirred a new dissatisfaction. 
It hinted much, but only, it seemed to him, 
to negative it. It left Omofaga still all in all, 
and him of interest only because he would 
talk of and work for Omofaga, and keep the 
Omofaga atmosphere about her. Now this 
was wrong, for Omofaga existed for him, not 
he for Omofaga ; that was the faith of true 


' You don't care about me,' he said. ' It's all 
the Company — and only the Company, because 
it gives you something to do. Well, the 
Company '11 go on (I hope), and you'll hear 
about our doings.' 

She turned to him with a puzzled look. 

' I don't know what it is,' she said with a 
shake of her head. Then, with a sudden air 
of understanding, as though she had caught 
the meaning that before eluded her, she cried, 
' I'm just like you, I believe. If I went to 
Omofaga, and you had to stay — ' 

' Oh, it would be the deuce ! ' he laughed. 

'Yes, yes. Wei!, it is — the deuce,' she 
answered, laughing in return. But in a mo- 
ment she was grave again. 

Her attraction for him — the old special at- 
traction of the unknown and unconquered — 
came strongly upon him, and mingled more 
now with pleasure in her. Her silence let him 
think ; and he began to think how wasted she 
was on Harry Dennison. Another thought 
followed, and to that he gave utterance. 

But you've lots of things you could do at 
home ; you could have plenty to work at, and 
plenty of — of influence, and so on.' 

' Yes, but — oh, it would come to Mr Belford ! 
Who wants to influence Mr Belford? Be- 
sides, I've grown to love it now. Haven't 
you ? ' 

' Omofaga ? ' 

' Yes ! It's so far off— and most people don't 
believe in it' 


1 No, confound them ! I wish they did ! ' 

' Do you ? I'm not sure I do.' 

She was so absorbed that she had not 
heard an approaching step, and was surprised 
to see Ruston jump up while her last sentence 
was but half said. 

' My dear Miss Valentine,' he cried, his 
face lighting up with a smile of pleasure, 
' how pleasant to meet you again ! ' 

There was no mistaking the sincerity of his 
greeting. Marjory blushed as she gave him 
her hand, and he fixed his eyes on her in 
undisguised approval. 

1 You're looking splendid,' he said. ' Is it 
the air, or the bathing, or what ? ' 

Perhaps it was both in part, but, more than 
either, it was a change that worked outwards 
from within, and was giving to her face the 
expression without which mere beauty of 
form or colour is poor in allurement. The 
last traces of what Lord Semingham meant 
by 'insipidity' had been chased away. Ruston 
felt the change though he could not track it. 

Marjory, a bad dissembler, greeted him 
nervously, almost coldly ; she was afraid to 
let her gaze rest on him or on Mrs Denni- 
son for long, lest it should hint her secret. 
Her manner betrayed such uneasiness that 
Ruston noticed it. Mrs Dennison did not, 
for something in Ruston's face had caught 
her attention. She had seen many expres- 
sions in his eyes as he looked at her — of 
sympathy, amusement, pleasure, even (what 


had pleased her most) puzzle, but never 
what she saw now. The look now was a 
man's homage to beauty — it differs from 
every other — a lover hardly seems to have 
it unless his love be beautiful — and she had 
never yet seen it when he looked at her. 
She turned away towards the sea, grasping 
the arm of her chair with a sudden grip 
that streaked her fingers red and white. 
Marjory also saw, and a wild hope leapt 
up in her that her task needed not the 
doing. But a moment later Ruston was back 
in Omofaga — young Sir Walter being his 
bridge for yet another transit. 

' How's Mr Dennison ? ' asked Marjory, when 
he gave her an opportunity. 

' Oh, he's all right. You'd have heard, I 
suppose, if he hadn't been ? ' 

It was true. Marjory recognised the inap- 
propriateness of her question, but Mrs Denni- 
son came to the rescue. 

' Marjory wants a personal impression,' she 
said. 'You know she and my husband are 
great allies !' 

* Well,' laughed Ruston, ' he was a little cross 
with me because I would come to Dieppe. I 
should have felt the same in his place; but 
he's well enough, I think.' 

' I was going down to find Lady Seming- 
ham,' said Marjory. 'Are you coming down this 
morning, Maggie ? ' 

' Maggie ' was something new — adopted at 
Mrs Dennison's request. 


, ■ ' I think not, dear.' 

I am,' said Ruston, taking up his walking 
stick. ' I shall be up with the Baron this 
afternoon, Mrs Dennison. Come along, Miss 
Valentine. We've been having no end of a 
palaver about Omofaga,' and as they disap- 
peared down the cliff Mrs Dennison heard 
his voice talking eagerly to Marjory. 

She felt her heart beating quickly. She 
had to conquer a strange impulse to rise and 
hurry after them. She knew that she must 
be jealous — jealous, she said to herself, trying 
to laugh, that he should talk about Omofaga 
to other people. Nonsense ! Why, he was 
always talking of it ! There was a stronger 
feeling in her, less vague, of fuller force. It 
had come on her when he spoke of his going 
to Africa, but then it was hard to understand, 
for with all her heart she thought she was 
still bent on his going. It spoke more clearly 
now, stirred by the threat of opposition. At 
first it had been the thing — the scheme — the 
idea— that had caught her ; she had taken the 
man for the thing's sake, because to do such 
a thing proved him a man after her pattern. 
But now, as she sat in the little garden, she 
dimly traced her change — she loved the 
scheme because it was his. She did not 
shrink (;om testing it. 'Yes,' she murmured, 
'if he gave it up now, I should go on 
with him to something else.' Then came 
another step — why should he not give it 
up? Why should he go into banishment 


— he who might go near to rule Eng- 
land? Why should he empty her life by 
going? But if he went — and she could not 
persuade herself that she had power to stop 
his going — he must go from her side, it 
must be she who gave him the stirrup-cup, 
she towards whom he would look across the 
sea, she for whom he would store up his brief 
grim tales of victory, in whose eyes he would 
see the reflection of his triumphs. Could 
she fill such a place in his life ? She knew 
that she did not yet, but she believed in 
herself. ' I feel large enough,' she said with 
a smile. 

Yet there was something that she had not 
yet touched in him — the thing which had put 
that look in his eyes, a thing that for the 
moment at least Marjory Valentine had 
touched. Why had she not? She answered, 
with a strong clinging to self-approbation, 
that it was because she would not. She 
told herself that she had asked nothing from 
her intercourse with him save the play of 
mind on mind — it was her mind and nothing 
else that her own home failed to satisfy. 
She recalled the scornful disgust with which 
she had listened to Semingham when he hinted 
to her that there was only one way to rule 
a man. It seemed less disgusting to her now 
than when he spoke. For, in the light of 
that look in his eyes, there stood revealed a 
new possibility — always obvious, never hitherto 
thought of — that another would take and wield 


the lower mighty power that she had dis- 
dained to grasp, and by the might of the 
lower wrest from her the higher. Was not 
the lower solidly based in nature, the higher 
a fanciful structure resting on no sound 
foundation ? The moment this spectre took 
form before her — the moment she grasped 
that the question might lie between her and 
another — that it might be not what she would 
take but what she could keep — her heart 
cried out, to ears that shrank from the 
tumultuous reckless cry, that less than all 
was nothing, that, if need be, all must 
be paid for all. And, swift on the horror 
of her discovery, came the inevitable joy in 
it — joy that will be silenced by no reproofs, 
not altogether abashed by any shame, 
that no pangs can rob utterly of its sweet- 
ness — a thing to smother, to hide, to 
rejoice in. 

Yet she would not face unflinchingly 
what her changing mind must mean. She 
tried to put it aside — to think of some- 
thing, ah ! of anything else, of anything 
that would give her foothold. 

' I love my husband,' she found her- 
self saying. ' I love poor old Harry and 
the children.' She repeated it again 
and again, praying the shibboleth to 
show its saving virtue. It was part of 
her creed, part of her life, to be a 
good wife and mother — part of her tra- 
ditions that women who were not that 


were nothing at all, and that there was 
nothing a woman might take in exchange for 
this one splendid all - comprehending virtue. 
To that she must stand — it was strange to 
be driven to argue with herself on such 
a point. She mused restlessly as she sat ; 
she listened eagerly for her children's 
footsteps mounting the hill ; she prayed for 
an interruption to rescue her from her 
thoughts. Just now she would think no 
more about it ; it was thinking about it 
that did all the harm. Yet while she 
was alone she could not choose but 
surrender to the thought of it — to the 
thought of what a price she must pay 
for her traditions and her creed. The 
payment, she cried, would leave life an 
empty thing. Yet it must be paid — if it 
must. Was it now come to that? Was 
mis the parting of the roads? 

' I must, yet I cannot ! I must not, 
yet I must.' It was the old clash of 
powers, the old conflict of commands, 
the old ruthless will of nature that makes 
right too hard and yet fastens anguish upon 
sin — that makes us yearn for and hate 
the higher while we love and loathe the 



MUCH went to spoil the stay at Dieppe, 
but the only overt trouble was the 
feeble health of the Baron von Gelt- 
schmidt. The old man had rapidly made his 
way into the liking of his new acquaintances. 
Semingham found his dry, worldly-wise, perhaps 
world-weary, humour an admirable sauce to 
conversation ; Adela Ferrars detected kindness 
in him ; his gallant deference pleased Lady 
Semingham. They were all grieved when the 
cold winds laid hold of him, forced him to 
keep house often, and drove him to furs and 
a bath-chair, even when the sun shone most 
brightly. Although they liked him, they im- 
plored him to fly south. He would not move, 
finding pleasure in them, and held fast by an 
ever-increasing uneasy interest in Willie Ruston. 
Adela quarrelled with him heartily and ener- 
getically on this score. To risk health because 
anyone was interesting was absurd ; to risk it 
on Ruston's account, most preposterous. ' I'd 
be ill to get away from him/ she declared. 



The Baron was obstinate, fatalistic as to his 
health, infatuated in his folly ; stay he would, 
while Ruston stayed. Yet what Ruston did, 
pleased him not ; for the better part of the 
man — what led him to respond to kindness or 
affection, and abate something of his hardness 
where he met no resistance — seemed to be 
conspiring with his old domineering mood 
to lead him beyond all power of warning or 

A week had passed since Ruston paid his 
first visit to Mrs Dennison in the cottage on 
the cliff. It was a bright morning. The Baron 
was feeling stronger ; he had left his chair and 
walked with Adela to a seat. There they sat 
side by side, in the occasional talk and easy 
silences of established friendship. The Baron 
smoked his cigar ; Adela looked idly at the 
sea ; but suddenly the Baron began to speak. 

' I had a talk with our friend, Lord Seming- 
ham, this morning,' said he. 

' About anything in particular? ' 

1 1 meant it to be, but he doesn't like talk- 
that leads anywhere in particular.' 

' No, he doesn't,' said Adela, with a slight 

The Baron sat silent for a moment, then 
he said, 

' May I talk to you, Miss Ferrars ? ' and 
he looked at her inquiringly. 

' Why, of course,' she answered. ' Is it 
about yourself, Baron ? You're not worse, are 
you ? ' 


He took no notice of her question, but 
pointed towards the cliff. 

' What is happening up there ? ' he asked. 

Adela started. She had not realised that 
he meant to talk on that subject. 

He detected her shrinking and hastened to 
defend himself. 

' Or are we to say nothing ? ' he asked. 
' Nothing ? When we all see ! Don't you 
see ? Doesn't Miss Valentine see ? Is she 
so sad for nothing ? Oh, don't shake your 
head. And the other — this Mrs Dennison ? 
Am I to go on ? ' 

' No,' said Adela sharply ; and added, a 
moment later, ' I know.' 

' And what does he mean ?' 

' He?' cried Adela. ' Oh, he's not human.' 

' Nay, but he's terribly human,' said the old 

Adela looked round at him, but then turned 

' I know what I would say, but I may 
not say it,' pursued the Baron. ' To you I 
may not say it. I know him. lie will take, 
if he is offered.' 

His voice sank to a whisper. 

' Then, God help her,' murmured Adela 
under her breath, while her cheeks flamed 

' Yes, he will take, and he will go. Ah, 
he is a man to follow and to believe in — to 
trust your money, your fortune, your plans, 
even your secrets to ; but — ' 


He paused, flinging away his extinct cigar. 

1 Well ? ' asked Adela in a low tone, eager 
in spite of her hatred of the topic. 

' Never your love,' said he ; and added, ' yet 
I believe I, who am old enough to know better, 
and too old to learn better, have almost given 
him mine. Well, I am not a woman.' 

' He can't hurt you,' said Adela. 

' Yes, he can,' said the Baron with a dreary 

Adela was not thinking of her companion. 

' Why do you talk of it ? ' she asked im- 

' I know I was wrong.' 

' No, no. I mean, why do you talk of it 
now ? ' 

' Because,' said the Baron, ' he will not. 
Have you seen no change in him this week ? 
A week ago, he laughed when I talked to him. 
He did not mind me speaking — it was still a 
trifle — nonsense — a week ago ; if you like, an 
amusement, a pastime ! ' 

' Well, and now ? ' 

' Now he tells me to hold my tongue. And 
yet I am glad for one thing. That girl will 
not have him for a husband.' 

' Glad ! Why, Baron, don't you see — ' 

' Yes, I see. Still I am glad.' 

* I can't go on talking about it ; but is there 
no hope ? ' 

' Where is it ? For the time — mind you for 
the time — he is under that other woman's 


**-* She's under his, you mean.' 
' "*ii« mean both. She was a friend of yours? 
Yes. She is not altogether a bad woman ; 
but she has had a bad fortune. Ah, there 
she is, and he with her.' 

As he spoke, Mrs Dennison and Ruston 
came by. Mrs Dennison flung them a glance 
of recognition ; it was hardly more, and even 
for so much she seemed to grudge the inter- 
ruption. Ruston's greeting was more cere- 
monious ; he smiled, but his brows contracted 
a little, and he said to his companion, 

' Miss Ferrars isn't pleased with me.' 

' That hurts ? ' she asked lightly. 

' No,' he answered, after a short pause, ' I 
don't know that it does.' 

But the frown dwelt a little longer on his face. 

' Sit down here,' she said, and they sat 
down in full view of Adela and the Baron, 
about twenty yards off. 

' She's mad,' murmured Adela, and the 
Baron muttered assent. 

It was the time of the morning when every- 
body was out. Presently Lord and Lady 
Semingham strolled by — Lady Semingham 
did not see Maggie Dennison, her husband 
did, and Adela caught the look in his eye. 
Then down from the hill and on to the crrass 


came Marjory Valentine. She saw both 
couples, and, for a perceptible moment, stood 
wavering between them. She looked pale and 
weary. Mrs Dennison indicated her with the 
slightest gesture. 



'You were asking for her. There she is,' 
she said to Willie Ruston. 

« Well, I think I'll go and ask her.' 


' To come for a walk.' 

' Now ? ' 

' Why not ? ' he asked with a surprised smile. 

As he spoke, Marjory's hesitation ended ; she 
joined Adela and the Baron. 

' How rude you are ! ' exclaimed Mrs Dennison 
angrily ; ' you asked me to come out with you.' 

' So I did. By Jove, so I did ! But you 
don't walk, do you? And I feel rather like 
a walk now.' 

1 Oh, if you prefer her society — ' 

' Her prattle,' he said, smiling, * amuses me. 
You and I always discuss high matters, you 


' She doesn't prattle, and you know it.' 

He looked at her for a moment. He had 
gone so far as to rise, but he resumed his seat. 

' What's the matter ? ' he asked tolerantly. 

Maggie Dennison's lip quivered. The week 
that had passed had been a stormy one to her. 
There had been a breaking down of barriers — 
barriers of honour, conscience, and pride. All 
she could do to gain or keep her mastery she 
had done. She had all but thrown herself 
at his feet. She hated to think of the things 
she had said or half-said ; and she had seen 
Marjory's eyes look wondering horror and pity- 
ing contempt at her. Of her husband she 
would not think. And she had won in return 


— she knew not what. It hung still in the 
balance. Sometimes he would seem engrossed 
in her ; but again he would turn to Marjory 
or another with a kind of relief, as though 
she wearied him. And of her struggles, of 
the great humiliations she suffered, of all 
she sacrificed to him, he seemed unconscious. 
Yet, cost what it might, she could not let 
him go now. The screen of Omofaga was 
dropped ; she knew that it was the man whose 
life she was resolute to fill ; whether she called 
it love for him or what else mattered little ; it 
seemed rather a mere condition of existence, 
necessary yet not sweet, even revolting ; but its 
alternative was death. 

She had closed her eyes for a moment under 
the stress of her pain. When she opened them, 
he was looking at her. And the look she 
knew was at last in his eyes. She put up her 
hand to ward it off; it woke her horror, but 
it woke her delight also. She could not choose 
whether to banish it, or to live in it all her 
life. She tried to speak, but her utterance 
was choked. 

'Why, I believe you're — jealous,' said Willie 
Ruston. ' But then they always say I'm a 
conceited chap.' 

He spoke with a laugh, but he looked at 
her intently. The little scene was the climax 
of a week's gradual betrayal. Often in all the 
hours they had spent together, in all the en- 
grossing talks they had had, something of the 
kind had appeared and disappeared ; he had 


wondered at her changefulness, her moods of 
expansion and of coldness — a rapturous greeting 
of him to be followed by a cold dismissal — an 
eager sympathy alternating with wilful indiffer- 
ence. She had, too, fits of prudence, when she 
would not go with him — and then spasms of 
recklessness when her manner seemed to defy 
all restraint and mock at the disapproval of 
her friends. On these puzzles — to him, pre- 
occupied as he was and little versed in such 
matters, they had seemed such — the present 
moment shed its light. He recalled, with 
understanding, things that had passed meaning- 
lessly before his eyes, that he seemed to have 
forgotten altogether ; the ambiguous things 
became plain ; what had been, though plain, 
yet strange, fell into its ordered place and 
became natural. The new relation between 
them proclaimed itself the interpretation and 
the work of the bygone week. 

Her glove lay in her lap, and he touched it 
lightly ; the gesture speaking of their sudden 
new familiarity. 

Her reproach was no less eloquent ; she 
rebuked not the thing, but the rashness of it. 

' Don't do that. They're looking,' she found 
voice to whisper. 

He withdrew his hand, and, taking off his 
hat, pushed the hair back from his forehead. 
Presently he looked at her with an almost 
comical air of perplexity ; she was conscious of 
the glance, but she would not meet it. He 
pursed his lips to whistle. 



' Don't,' she whispered sharply. 'Don't whistle.' 
A whistle brought her husband to her mind. 

The checked whistle rudely reflected his 
mingled feelings. He wished that he had been 
more on his guard — against her and against 
himself. There had been enough to put him 
on his guard ; if he had been put on his guard, 
this thing need not have happened. He 
called the thing in his thoughts ' inconvenient' 
He was marvellously awake to the inconveni- 
ence of it ; it was that which came uppermost 
in his mind as he sat by Maggie Dennison. 
Yet, in spite of a phrase that sounded so cold 
and brutal, his reflections paid her no little 
compliment ; for he called the revelation incon- 
venient all the more, and most of all, because 
he found it of immense interest, because it 
satisfied suddenly and to the full a sense of 
interest and expectation that had been upon 
him, because it seemed to make an immense 
change in his mind and to alter the conditions 
of his life. Had it not done all this, its incon- 
venience would have been much less — to him 
and save in so far as he grieved for her — nay, 
it would have been, in reality, nothing. It was 
inconvenient because it twisted his purposes, 
set him at jar with himself, and cut across the 
orderly lines he had laid down — and because, 
though it did all this, he was not grieved nor 
angry at it. 

He rose to his feet. Mrs Dennison looked 
up quickly. 

' I shall go for my walk now,' he said, and 


he added in answer to her silent question, ' Oh, 
yes, alone. I've got a thing or two I want to 
think about.' 

Her eyes dropped as he spoke. He had 
smiled, and she, in spite of herself, had smiled 
in answer ; but she could not look at him while 
she smiled. He stood there for an instant, 
smiling still ; then he grew grave, and turned 
to walk away. Her sigh witnessed the relax- 
ation of the strain. But, after one step, he 
faced her again, and said, as though the idea 
had just struck him, 

' I say, when does Dennison come ? ' 

' In a week,' she answered. 

For just a moment again, he stood still, 
thoughtfully looking at her. Then he lifted 
his hat, wheeled round, and walked briskly off 
towards the jetty at the far end of the expanse 
of grass. Adela Ferrars, twenty yards off, 
marked his going with a sigh of relief. 

Mrs Dennison sat where she was a little while 
longer. Her agitation was quickly passing, 
and there followed on it a feeling of calm. She 
seemed to have resigned charge of herself, to 
have given her conduct into another's keeping. 
She did not know what he would do ; he had 
uttered no word of pleasure or pain, praise or 
blame ; and that question at the last — about 
her husband — was ambiguous. Did he ask it, 
fearing Harry's arrival, or did he think the 
arrival of her husband would end an awkward 
position and set him free ? Really, she did not 
know. She haJ done what she could — and 


"•what she could not help. He must do what 
hr- liked — only, knowing him, she did not 
think that she had set an end to their acquaint- 
ance. And that for the moment was 

' A woman, Bessie,' she heard a voice be- 
hind her saying, ' may be anything from a 
cosmic force to a clothes-peg.' 

1 1 don't know what a cosmic force is,' said 
Lady Semingham. 

' A cosmic force ? Why — ' 

' But I don't want to know, Alfred. Why, 
Maggie, that's a new shade of brown on your 
shoes. Where do you get them ? ' 

Mrs Dennison gave her bootmaker's address, 
and Lady Semingham told her husband to 
remember it. She never remembered that he 
always forgot such things. 

The arrival of the Seminghams seemed to 
break the spell which had held Mrs Denni- 
son apart from the group over against her. 
Adela strolled across, followed by Marjory, and 
the Baron on Marjory's arm. The whole party 
gathered in a cluster ; but Marjory hung 
loosely on the outskirts of the circle, and 
seemed scarcely to belong to it. 

The Baron seated himself in the place Willie 
Ruston had left empty. The rest stood talk- 
ing for a minute or two, then Semingham put 
his hand in his pocket and drew out a folded 
sheet of tracing-paper. 

'We're all Omofagites here, aren't we?' he 
said ; ' even you, Baron, now. Here's a plan 


Carlin has just sent me. It shows our terri- 

Everybody crowded round to look as he 
unfolded it. Mrs Dennison was first in un- 
disguised eagerness ; and Marjory came closer, 
slipping her arm through Adela Ferrars'. 

' What does the blue mean ? ' asked Adela. 

' Native settlements.' 

' Oh ! And all that brown ? — it's mostly 

' Brown,' answered Semingham, with a slight 
smile, 'means unexplored country.' 

' I should have made it all brown,' said 
Adela, and the Baron gave an appreciative 

' And what are these little red crosses ? ' 
asked Mrs Dennison, laying the tip of her 
finger on one. 

' Eh ? What, those ? Oh, let me see. Here, 
just hold it while I look at Carlin's letter. 
He explains it all,' and Lord Semingham 
began to fumble in his breast-pocket. 

' Dear me,' said Bessie Semingham, in a tone 
of delicate pleasure, ' they look like tomb- 
stones ! ' 

' Hush, hush, my dear lady,' cried the old 
Baron ; ' what a bad omen.' 

' Tombstones,' echoed Maggie Dennison 
thoughtfully. 'So they do — just like tomb- 

A pause fell on the group. Adela broke it. 
' Well, Director, have you found your direc- 
tions ? ' she asked briskly. 


'""* It was a momentary lapse of memory,' 
'sa'rtT Semingham with dignity. ' Those — er — 

' No, not tombstones,' interrupted the Baron 

'Little — er — signposts are, of course, the 
forts belonging to the Company. What else 
should they be ? ' 

1 Oh, forts,' murmured everybody. 

' They are,' continued Lord Semingham 
apologetically, ' in the nature of a prophecy 
at present, as I understand.' 

' A very bad prophecy, according to Bessie,' 
said Mrs Dennison. 

' I hope,' said the Baron, shaking his head, 
' that the official name is more correct than 
Lady Semingham's.' 

' So do I,' said Marjory ; and added, be- 
fore she could think not to add, and with 
unlucky haste, ' my brother's going out, you 

Mrs Dennison looked at her. Then she 
crossed over to her, saying to Adela, 

'You never let me have a word with my 
own guest, except at breakfast and bedtime. 
Come and walk up and down with me, 

Marjory obeyed ; the group began to scatter. 

' But didn't they look like tombstones, 
Baron?' said Bessie Semingham again, as she 
sat down and made room for the old man 
beside her. When she had an idea she 
liked it very much. He began to be voluble 


in his reproof of her gloomy fancies ; but 
she merely laughed in glee at her ingenuity. 

Adela, by a gesture, brought Semingham to 
her side and walked a few paces off with him. 

' Will you go with me to the post-office ? ' 
she said abruptly. 

' By all means,' he answered, feeling for his 

' Oh, you needn't get your glass to spy at 
me with.' 

' Dear, dear, you use one yourself ! ' 

' I'll tell you myself why I'm going. You're 
going to send a telegram.' 

'Am I?' 

' Yes ; to invite someone to stay with you. 
Lord Semingham, when you find a woman 
relies on a man — on one man only — in 
trouble, what do you think ? ' 

She asked the question in a level voice, 
looking straight before her. 

• That she's fond of him.' 

' And does he — the man — think the same ? ' 

' Generally. I think most men would. 
They're seldom backward to think it, you 

'Then/ she said steadily, 'you must think, 
and he must think, what you like. I can't 
help it. I want you to wire and ask a man 
to come and stay with you.' 

He turned to her in surprise. 

'Tom Loring/ she said, and the moment 
the name left her lips Semingham hastily 
turned his glance away. 


•^Awkward — with the other fellow here,' he 
ventured to suggest. 

' Mr Ruston doesn't choose your guests.' 

'But Mrs—' 

' Oh, fancy talking of awkwardness now ! 
He used to influence her once, you know. 
Perhaps he might still. Do let us try,' and 
her voice trembled in earnestness. 

' We'll try. Will he come ? He's very 
angry with her.' 

And Adela answered, still looking straight 
in front of her, 

' I'm going to send him a wire, too.' 

' I'm very glad to hear it,' said Lord Sem- 



WILLIE RUSTON rested his elbows on 
the jetty-wall and gazed across the 
harbour entrance. He had came there 
to think ; and deliberate thinking was a rare 
thing for him to set his head to. His brain 
dealt generally — even with great matters, as 
all brains deal with small — in rapid half- 
unconscious beats ; the process coalescing so 
closely with the decision as to be merged 
before it could be recognised. But about 
this matter he meant to think ; and the first 
result of his determination was (as it often 
is in such a case) that nothing at all relevant 
would stay by him. There was a man fishing 
near, and he watched the float ; he looked long 
at the big hotel at Puys, which faced him a mile 
away, and idly wondered whether it were 
full ; he followed the egress of a fishing boat 
with strict attention. Then, in impatience, 
he turned round and sat down on the stone 
bench and let his eyes see nothing but the 
flags of the pavement. Even then he hardly 



thought ; but after a time he became vaguely 
occupied with Maggie Dennison, his mind 
playing to and fro over her voice, her tricks 
of manner, her very gait, and at last settling 
more or less resolutelv on the strange revela- 
tion of herself which she had gradually made 
and had consummated that day. It changed 
his feelings towards her ; but it did not change 
them to contempt. He had his ideas, but 
he did not make ideal figures out of human- 
ity ; and humanity could go very far wrong 
and sink very deep in its lower possibilities 
without shocking him. Nor did he under- 
stand her, nor realise how great a struggle 
had brought what he saw to birth. It 
seemed to him a thing not unnatural, even in 
her, who was in much unlike most other women. 
There are dominions that are not to be 
resisted, and we do not think people weak 
simply because they are under our own in- 
fluence. His surprise was reserved for the 
counter-influence which he felt, and strove 
not to acknowledge ; his contempt for the 
disturbance into which he himself was thrown. 
At that he was half-displeased, puzzled, and 
alarmed ; yet that, too, had its delight. 

_ ' What rot it is ! ' he muttered, in the rude 
dialect of self-communion, which sums up a 
bewildering conflict in a word of slang. 

He was afraid of himseh — and his excla- 
mation betrayed the fear. Men o. strong 
will are not all will ; the strong will has 
other strong things to fight, and the strong 


head has mighty rebels to hold down. That 
he felt ; but his fear of himself had its limits. 
He was not the man — as he saw very well 
at this moment, and recognised with an odd 
mixture of pride and humiliation — to give 
up his life to a passion. Had that been the 
issue clearly and definitely set before him 
he would not have sat doubtful on the jetty. 
He understood what of nobility lay in such 
a temperament, and his humiliation was be- 
cause it made no part of him ; but the pride 
overmastered, and at last he was glad to 
say to himself that there was no danger of 
his losing all for love. Indeed, was he in 
love? In love in the grand sense people 
talked and wrote about so much? Well, 
there were other senses, and there were many 
degrees. The question he weighed, or rather 
the struggle which he was undergoing, was 
between resisting or yielding before a temp- 
tation to take into his life something which 
should not absorb it, but yet in a measure 
alter it, which allured him all the more en- 
ticingly because, judging as he best could, he 
could see no price which must be paid for 
it — well, except one. And, as the one came 
into his mind, it made him pause, and he mused 
on it, looking at it in all lights. Sometimes 
he put the price as an act of wrong which 
would stain him — for, apart from other, maybe 
greater, maybe more fanciful obstacles, Harry 
Dennison held him for a friend — sometimes 
as an act of weakness which would leave 



hfffT vulnerable. And, after these attempted 
reas&riings, he would fall again to thinking 
of Maggie Dennison, her voice, her manner, 
and the revelation of herself; and in these 
picturings the reasoning died away. 

There are a few deliberate sinners, a few 
by whom ' Evil, be thou my Good ' is calmly 
uttered as a dedication and a sacrament, but 
most men do not make up their minds to 
be sinners or determine in cool resolve to do 
acts of the sort that lurked behind Willie 
Ruston's picturings. They only fail to make 
up their minds not to do them. Ruston, in 
a fury of impatience, swept all his musing 
from him — it led to nothing. It left him 
where he was. He was vexing himself need- 
lessly ; he told himself that he could not 
decide what he ought to do. In truth, he did 
not choose to decide what it was that he chose 
to do. And with the thoughts that he drove 
away went the depression they had carried 
with them. He was confident again in himself, 
his destiny, his career; and in its fancied 
greatness, the turmoil he had suffered sank 
to its small proportions. He returned to his 
old standpoint, and to the old medley of pride 
and shame it gave him ; he might be of supreme 
importance to Maggie Dennison, but she was 
only of some importance to him. He could 
live without her. But, at present, he regarded 
her loss as a thing not necessary to undergo. 

It was late in the day that he met young 
Sir Walter, who ran to him, open-mouthed 


with news. Walter was afraid that the news 
would be unpalatable, and could not under- 
stand such want of tact in Semingham. To 
ask Tom Loring while Ruston was there 
argued a bluntness of perception strange to 
young Sir Walter. But, be the news good 
or bad, he had only to report ; and report 
it he did straightway to his chief. Willie 
Ruston smiled, and said that, if Loring did 
not mind meeting him, he did not mind 
meeting Loring ; indeed, he would welcome 
the opportunity of proving to that unbeliever 
that there was water somewhere within a 
hundred miles of Fort Imperial (which Tom 
in one of those articles had sturdily denied). 
Then he flirted away a stone with his stick 
and asked if anyone had yet told Mrs Denni- 
son. And, Sir Walter thinking not, he said, 

' Oh, well, I'm going there. I'll tell her.' 

'She'll know why he's coming,' said Walter, 
nodding his head wisely. 

' Will she ? Do you know ? ' asked Ruston 
with a smile — young Sir Walter's wisdom was 
always sure of that tribute from him. 

' If you'd seen Adela Ferrars, you'd know too. 
She tries to make believe it's nothing, but she's 
— oh, she's — ' 

' Well ? ' 

' She's all of a flutter,' laughed Walter. 

' You've got to the bottom of that,' said 
Ruston in a tone of conviction. 

' Still, I think it's inconsiderate of Loring ; 
he must know that Mrs Dennison will find 



lT/ather awkward. But, of course, if a fellow's 
'inlove, he won't think of that' 

' I suppose not,' said Willie Ruston, smiling 
again at this fine scorn. 

Then, with a sudden impulse, struck perhaps 
with an envy of what he laughed at, he put his 
arm through his young friend's, and exclaimed, 
with a friendly confidential pressure of the hand, 

' I say, Val, I wish the devil we were in 
Omofaga, — don't you ? ' 

' Rather ! ' came full and rich from his com- 
panion's lips. 

' With a few thousand miles between us 
and everything — and everybody ! ' 

Young Sir Walter's eyes sparkled. 

' Off in three months now,' he reminded his 
leader exultingly. 

It could not be. The Fates will not help in 
such a fashion, it is not their business to cut 
the noose a man ties round his neck — happy 
is he if they do not draw it tight. With a 
sigh, Willie Ruston dropped his companion's 
arm, and left him with no other farewell than 
a careless nod. Of Tom Loring's coming he 
thought little. It might be that Sir Walter 
had seen most of its meaning, and that Sem- 
ingham was acting as a benevolent match- 
maker — a character strange for him, and 
amusing to see played — but, no doubt, there 
was a little more. Probably Tom had some 
idea of turning him from his path, of com- 
bating his influence, of disputing his power. 
Well, Tom had tried that once, and had failed ; 



he would fail again. Maggie Dennison had 
not hesitated to resent such interference ; she 
had at once (Ruston expressed it to himself) 
put Tom in his right place. Tom would be 
no more to her at Dieppe than in London — 
nay, he would be less, for any power unbroken 
friendship and habit might have had then 
would be gone by now. Thus, though he saw 
the other meaning, he made light of it, and 
it was as a bit of gossip concerning Adela 
Ferrars, not as tidings which might affect 
herself, that he told Mrs Dennison of Tom's 
impending arrival. 

On her the announcement had a very differ- 
ent effect. For her the whole significance lay 
in what Ruston ignored, and none in what 
had caught his fancy. He was amazed to 
see the rush of colour to her cheeks. 

' Tom Loring coming here ! ' she cried in 
something like horror. 

Again, and with a laugh, Ruston pointed 
out the motive of his coming, as young Sir 
Walter had interpreted it ; but he added, as 
though in concession, and with another laugh, 

' Perhaps he wants to keep his eye on me, 
too. He doesn't trust me further than he can 
see me, you know.' 

Without looking at him or seeming to listen 
to his words, she asked, in low indignant tones, 

' How dare he come ? ' 

Willie Ruston opened his eyes. He did not 
understand so much emotion spent on such a 
trifle. Say it was bad taste in Loring to 


esme, or an impertinence ! Well, it was not 
a tragedy at all events. He was almost angry 
with her for giving importance to it ; and the 
importance she gave set him wondering. But 
before he could translate his feeling into words, 
she turned to him, leaning across the table 
that stood between them, and clasping her 

' I can't bear to have him here now,' she 

1 What harm will he do ? You needn't see 
anything of him,' rejoined Ruston, more 
astonished at each new proof of disquietude 
in her. 

But Tom Loring was not to be so lightly 
dismissed from her mind ; and she did not 
seem to heed when Ruston added, with a 

' You got rid of him once, didn't you ? I 
should think you could again.' 

1 Ah, then ! That was different.' 

He looked at her curiously. She was 
agitated, but there seemed to be more than 
agitation. As he read it, it was fear ; and 
discerning it, he spoke in growing surprise 
and rising irritation. 

' You look as if you were afraid of him.' 

' Afraid of him ? ' she broke out. ' Yes, I 
am afraid of him.' 

' Of Loring ? ' he exclaimed in sheer wonder. 
' Why, in heaven's name ? Loring's not — ' 

He was going to say 'your husband,' but 
stopped himself. 


' I can't face him,' she whispered. ' Oh, 
you know ! Why do you torment me ? Or 
don't you know? Oh, how strange you 

And now there was fear in her eyes when 
she looked at Ruston. 

He sat still a moment, and then in slow 
tones he said, 

' I don't see what concern your affairs are 
of Loring's — or mine either, by God ! ' 

At the last word his voice rose a little, 
and his lips shut tight as it left them. 

' Oh, it's easy for you,' she said, half 
in anger at him, half in scorn of herself. 
1 You don't know what he is — what he was — 
to me.' 

1 What was Loi ing to you ? ' he asked in 
sharp, imperious tones — tones that made her 
hurriedly cry, 

' No, no ; not that, not that. How could 
you think that of me?' 

' What then ? ' came curt and crisp from 
him, her reproach falling unheeded. 

' Oh, I wish — I wish you could understand 
just a little ! Do you think it's all nothing 
to me ? Do you think I don't mind ? ' 

■ I don't know what it is to you,' he said 
doggedly. ' I know it's nothing to Lor- 

' I don't believe,' she went on, ' that he's 
coming because of Adela at all.' 

And as she spoke, she met his eyes for a 
moment, and then shrank from them. 


'Come, shall we speak plainly?' he asked 
with evident impatience. 

'Ah, you will, I know,' she wailed, with a 
smile and a despairing gesture. She loved and 
dreaded him for it. ' Not too plainly, Willie ! ' 

His mouth relaxed. 

' Why do you worry about the fellow ? ' he 

'Well, I'll speak plainly, too,' she cried. 
' He's not a fool ; and he's a honest man. 
That's why I don't want him here ; ' and 
enduring only till she had flung out the truth, 
she buried her face in her hands. 

1 I've had enough of him,' said Willie 
Ruston, frowning. ' He's always got in my 
way ; first about the Company — and now — ' 

He broke off, pushing his chair back, and 
rising to his feet. He walked to the window 
of the little sitting-room where they were ; the 
sun was setting over the sea, and early dusk 
gathering. It was still, save for the sound 
of the waves. 

'Is there nobody at home?' he asked, with 
his back towards her. 

' No. Marjory and the children have gone 
down to the Rome to have tea with Bessie 

He waited a moment longer, looking out, 
then he came back and stood facing her. 
She was leaning her head on her hand. At 
last she spoke in a low voice. 

' He's Harry's friend/ she said, ' and he used 
to be mine ; and he trusted me.' 


Willie Ruston threw his head back with a 
little sharp jerk. 

' Oh, well, I didn't come to talk about Tom 
Loring,' he said. ' If you value his opinion 
so very much, why, you must keep it ; that's 
all,' and he moved towards where his hat was 
lying. ' But I'm afraid I can't share my friends 
with him.' 

' Oh, I know you won't share anything with 
anybody,' said Maggie Dennison, her voice 
trembling between a sob and a laugh. 

He turned instantly. His face lighted up, 
and the sun, casting its last rays on her eyes, 
made them answer with borrowed brilliance. 

' I won't share you with Loring, anyhow,' 
he cried, walking close up to her, and resting 
his hand on the table. 

She laid hers gently on it. 

' Don't go to Omofaga, Willie,' she said. 

For a moment he sheerly stared at her ; 
then he burst into a merry unrestrained peal 
of laughter. Next he lifted her hand and 
kissed it. 

' You are the most wonderful woman in 
the world/ said he, his mouth quivering with 

' Oh ! ' she exclaimed, throwing her arms 
wide for a moment. 

' Well, what's the matter ? What have I done 
wrong now ? ' 

She rose and walked up and down the room. 

' I wish I'd never seen you,' she said from 
the far end of it. 


"~'I wish I'd never seen — Tom Loring.' 
A Ah, that's the only thing ! ' she cried. ' I 
may live or I may die, or I may — do any- 
thing you like ; but I mustn't have another 
friend ! I mustn't give a thought to what any- 
body else thinks of me ! 

' You mustn't balance me against Tom 
Loring/ he answered between his teeth, all 
signs of his merriment gone now. 

For a moment — not long, but seeming very 
long — there was silence in the room ; and, 
while the brief stillness reigned, she fought a 
last battle against him, calling loyalty and 
friendship to her aid, praying their alliance 
against the overbearing demand he made on 
her — against his roughness, his blindness to 
all she suffered for him. But the strife was 
short. Lifting her hands above her head, and 
bringing them down through the air as with 
a blow, she cried, 

' My God, I balance nothing against you ! ' 

Her reward — her only reward — seemed on 
the instant to be hers. Willie Ruston was 
transformed ; his sullenness was gone ; his 
eyes were alight with triumph ; the smile she 
loved was on his lips, and he had forgotten 
those troubled, useless, mazy musings on the 
jetty. He took a quick step towards her, 
holding out both his hands. She clasped 

'Nothing?' he asked in a low tone. 'No- 
thing, Maggie? ' 

She bowed her head for answer ; it was the 


attitude of surrender, of helplessness, and of 
trust, and it appealed to the softer feeling 
in him which her resistance had smothered. 
He was strongly moved, and his face was 
pale as he drew her to him and kissed her 
lips ; but all he said was, 

' Then the deuce take Tom Loring ! ' 

It seemed to her enough. The light devil- 
may-care words surely covered a pledge from 
him to her — something in return from him to 
her. At last, surely, he was hers, and her 
wishes his law. It was her moment ; she 
would ask of him now the uttermost wish of 
her heart — the wish that had displaced all 
else — the passionate wish not to lose him — 
not, as it were, to be emptied of him. 

' And Omofaga ? ' she whispered. 

His eyes looked past her, out into the dim 
twilight, into the broad world — the world that 
she seemed to ask him to give for her, 
as she was giving her world for him. He 
laughed again, but not as he had laughed 
before. There was a note of wonder in his 
laugh now — of wonder that the prayer seemed 
now not so utterly absurd — that he could 
imagine himself doing even that — spoiling his 
heart of its darling ambition — for her. Yet, 
even in that moment of her strongest sway, 
as her arms were about him, he was swearing 
to himself that he would not. 

She did not press for an answer. A glance 
into his distant eyes gave her one, perhaps, 
for she sighed as though in pain. Hearing 



fuST, he bent his look on her again. Though 
he might deny that last boon, he had given 
her much. So she read ; and, drawing herself 
to her full height, she released one of her 
hands from his, and held it out to him. For 
a moment he hesitated ; then, a slow smile 
breaking on his face, he bent and kissed it, 
and she whispered over his bent head, half in 
triumph, half in apology for bidding him bend 
his head even in love, 

' I like pretending to be queen — even with 
you, Willie.' 

Her flattery, so sweet to him, because it 
was wrung from her all against her will, and 
was for him alone of men, thrilled through 
him and he was drawing her to him again 
when the merry chatter of a child struck on 
their ears from the garden. 

She shrank back. 

' Hark ! ' she murmured. ' They're coming.' 

' Yes ' he said, with a frown. ' I shall come 
to-morrow, Maggie.' 

' To-morrow ? Every day ? ' said she. 

' Well, then, every day. But to-morrow all 

4 Ah, yes, all day to-morrow.' 

1 But I must go now.' 

' No, no, don't go,' she said quickly. ' Sit 
down ; see, sit there. Don't look as if you'd 
thought of going.' 

He did as she bade him, trying to assume 
an indifferent air. 

She. too, sat down, her eyes fixed on the 


door. A strange look of pain and shame 
spread over her face. She must bend to de- 
ceive her children, to dread detection, to play 
little tricks and weave little devices against 
the eyes of those for whom she had been an 
earthly providence — the highest, most power- 
ful, and best they knew. Willie Ruston did 
not follow the thought that stamped its mark 
on her face then, nor understand why, with a 
sudden gasp, she dashed her hand across her 
eyes and turned to him with trembling lips, 
crying, in low tones, 

• Ah, but I have you, Willie ! ' 

Before he could answer her appeal, the 
voices were in the passage. Her face grew 
calm, save for a slight frown on her brow. 
She shaped her lips into a smile to meet the 
incomers. She shot a rapid glance of caution 
and warning at him. The door was flung 
open, and the three children rushed in, Madge 
at their head. Madge, seeing Willie Ruston, 
stopped short, and her laughter died away. 
She turned and said, 

' Marjory, here's Mr Ruston.' 

None could mistake her tone for one of 

Marjory Valentine came forward. She 
looked at neither of them, but sat down near 
the table. 

' Well, Madge,' said Mrs Dennison, ' there's good 
news for you, isn't there ? Your friend's coming.' 

Madge, finding (as she thought) sympathy, 
came to her mother's knee. 


' Yes, I'm glad,' she said. ' Are you glad, 
mother ? ' 

' Oh, I don't mind,' answered Mrs Dennison, 
kissing her ; but she could not help one 
glance at Willie Ruston. Bitterly she re- 
pented it, for she found Marjory Valentine 
following it with her open, sorrowful eyes. She 
rose abruptly, and Ruston rose also, and with 
brief good-nights — Madge being kissed only 
on strong persuasion — took his leave. The 
children flocked away to take off their hats, 
and Marjory was left alone with her hostess. 

The girl looked pale, weary, and sad. Mrs 
Dennison was stirred to an impulse of com- 
passion. Walking up to where she sat, she 
bent down as though to kiss her. Marjory 
looked up. There was a question — it seemed 
to be a question — in her face. Mrs Dennison 
flushed red from neck to forehead, and then 
grew paler than the pallor she had pitied. 
The girl's unspoken question seemed to echo 
hauntingly from every corner of the little 
room, Are your lips — clean ? 



SLOW in forming, swift in acting ; slow in 
the making, swift in the working ; slow 
to the summit, swift down the other slope ; 
it is the way of nature, and the way of the 
human mind. What seemed yesterday un- 
born and impossible, is to-day incipient and 
a great way off, to-morrow complete, present, 
and accomplished. After long labour a thing 
springs forth full grown ; to deny it, or refuse 
it, or fight against it, seems now as vain as 
a few hours ago it was to hope for it, or to 
fear, or to imagine or conceive it. In like 
manner, the slow, crawling, upward journey can 
be followed by every eye ; its turns, its twists, 
its checks, its zigzags may be recorded on a 
chart. Then is the brief pause — on the summit 
— and the tottering incline towards the de- 
clivity. But how describe what comes after? 
The dazzling rush that beats the eye, that in 
its fury of advance, its paroxysm of speed, 
is void of halts or turns, and, darting from 
point to point, covers and blurs the landscape 



till there seems nothing but the moving thing ; 
and that again, while the watcher still tries 
vainly to catch its whirl, has sprung, and 
reached, and ceased ; and, save that there it 
was and here it is, he would not know that 
its fierce stir had been. 

Such a race runs passion to its goal, when 
the reins hang loose. Hours may do what 
years have not done, and minutes sum more 
changes than long days could stretch to hold. 
The world narrows till there would seem to 
be nothing else existent in it — nothing of all 
that once held out the promise (sure as it 
then claimed to be) of escape, of help, or 
warning. The very promise is forgotten, the 
craving for its fulfilment dies away. 'Let me 
alone,' is the only cry ; and the appeal makes 
its own answer, the entreaty its own con- 

Some thirty hours had passed since the last 
recorded scene, and Marjory Valentine was 
still under Mrs Dennison's roof. It had been 
hard to stay, but the girl would not give up 
her self-imposed hopeless task. Helpless she 
had proved, and hopeless she had become. 
The day had passed with hardly a word spoken 
between her and her hostess. Mrs Dennison 
had been out the greater part of the time, 
and, when out, she had been with Ruston. 
She had come in to dinner at half-past seven, 
and at nine had gone to her room, plead- 
ing fatigue and a headache. Marjory had sat 
up a little longer, with an unopened book on 


her knee. Then she also went to bed, and 
tried vainly to sleep. She had left her bed 
now, and, wrapped in a dressing-gown, sat 
in a low arm-chair near the window. It was 
a dark and still night ; a thick fog hung over 
the little garden ; nothing was to be heard 
save the gentle roll of a quiet sea, and the 
occasional blast of a steam whistle. Marjory's 
watch had stopped, but she guessed it to be 
somewhere in the small hours of the morning — 
one o'clock, perhaps, or nearing two. There 
was an infinite weary time, then, before the 
sun would shine again, and the oppression of 
the misty darkness be lifted off. She hated 
the night — this night — it savoured not of rest 
to her, but of death; for she was wrought 
to a nervous strain, and felt her imaginings 
taking half-bodily shapes about her, so that 
she was fearful of looking to the right hand 
or the left. Sleep was impossible; to try to 
sleep like a surrender to the mysterious enemies 
round her. Time seemed to stand still ; _ she 
counted sixty once, to mark a minute's flight, 
and the counting took an eternity. The house 
was utterly noiseless, and she shivered at the 
silence. She would have given half her life, 
she felt, for a ray of the sun ; but half a 
life stretched between her and the first break 
of morning. Sitting there, she heaped terrors 
round her ; the superstitions that hide their 
heads before daytime mockery reared them 
now in victory and made a prey of her. The 
struggle she had in her weakness entered on 


— w 

• se&med less now with human frailty than 
against the strong and evil purpose of some 
devil ; in face of which she was naught. How 
should she be? She had not, she told her- 
self in morbid upbraiding, even a pure motive 
in the fight; her hatred of the sin had been 
less keen had she not once desired the love 
of him that caused it, and when she arrested 
Maggie Dennison's kiss, she shamed a rival 
in rebuking an unfaithful wife. Then she 
cried rebelliously against her anguish. Why 
had this come on her, darkening bright youth ? 
Why was she compassed about with trouble ? 
And why — why — why did not the morning 

The mist was thick and grey against the 
window. A fog-horn roared, and the sea, 
regardless, repeated its even beat ; behind the 
feeble interruptions there sounded infinite 
silence. She hid her face in her hands. 
Then she leapt up and flung the window 
open wide. The damp fog-folds settled on 
her face, but she heard the sea more plainly, 
and there were sounds in the air about her. 
It was not so terribly quiet. She peered 
eagerly through the mist, but saw nothing 
save vague tremulous shapes, vacant of iden- 
tity. Still the world, the actual, earthly, 
healthy world, was there — a refuge from im- 

She stood looking ; and, as she looked, one 
shape seemed to grow into a nearer likeness 
of something definite. It was motionless ; 


it differed from the rest only in being darker 
and of rather sharper outline. It must be 
a tree, she thought, but remembered no tree 
there ; the garden held only low-growing 
shrubs. A post? But the gate lay to the 
right, and this stood on her left hand, hard 
by the door of the house. What then ? The 
terror came on her again, but she stood and 
looked, longing to find some explanation for 
it — some meaning on which her mind could 
rest, and, reassured, drive away its terrifying 
fancies. For the shape was large in the 
mist, and she could not tell what it might 
mean. Was it human ? On her superstitious 
mood the thought flashed bright with sudden 
relief, and she cried beseechingly, 

' Who is it ? Who's there ? ' " 

A human voice in answer would have been 
heaven to her, but no answer came. With 
a stifled cry, she shut the window down, and 
stood a moment, listening — eager, yet fearful, 
to hear. Hark ! Yes, there was a sound ! 
What was it? It was a footstep on the 
gravel — a slow, uncertain, wavering, intermit- 
tent step, as though of someone groping with 
hesitating feet and doubtful resolution through 
the mist. She must know what it was — who 
it was — what it meant. She started up again, 
laying both hands on the window-sash. But 
then terror conquered curiosity ; gasping as if 
breath failed her and something still pursued, 
she ran across the room and flung open the door. 
She must find someone — Maggie or someone. 



-i <On the threshold she paused in amazement. 
The door of Mrs Dennison's room was open, 
and Maggie stood in the doorway, holding 
a candle, behind which her face gleamed pale 
and her eyes shone. She was muffled in a 
long white wrapper, and her dark hair fell over 
her shoulders. The candle shook in her hand, 
but, on sight of Marjory, her lips smiled 
beneath her deep shining eyes. Marjory ran 
to her crying, 

' Is it you, Maggie ? ' 

'Who should it be?' asked Mrs Dennison, 
still smiling, so well as her fast-beating breath 
allowed her. ' Why aren't you in bed ? ' 

The girl grasped her hand, and pushed her 
back into the room. 

' Maggie, I — Hark ! there it is again ! There's 
something outside — there, in the garden ! If 
you open the window — ' 

As she spoke, Mrs Dennison darted quick 
on silent naked feet to the window, and stood 
by it ; but she seemed rather to intercept 
approach to it than to think of opening it. 
Indeed there was no need. The slow un- 
certain step sounded again ; there were five or 
six seeming footfalls, and the women stood 
motionless, listening to them. Then there 
was stillness outside, matching the hush within ; 
till Maggie Dennison, tearing the wrapper loose 
from her throat, said in low tones, 

'I hear nothing outside;' and she put the 
candle on the table by her. ' You can see 
nothing for the fog,' she added as she gazed 


through the glass. Her tone was strangely 
full of relief. 

' I opened the window,' whispered Marjory, 
' and I saw — I thought I saw — something. And 
then I heard — that. You heard it, Maggie ? ' 

The girl was standing in the middle of the 
room, her eyes fixed on Mrs Dennison, who 
leant against the window-sash with a strained, 
alert, watchful look on her face. 

' I heard you open the window and call out 
something,' she said. ' That's all I heard.' 

' But just now — just now as we stood 
here ? ' 

Mrs Dennison did not answer for a moment ; 
her ear was almost against the panes, and her 
face was like a runner's as he waits for the 
starter's word. There was nothing but the 
gentle beat of the sea. Mrs Dennison pushed 
her hair back over her shoulders and sighed ; 
her tense frame relaxed, and the fixed smile on 
her lips seemed, in broadening, to lose some- 
thing of its rigidity. 

' No, I didn't, you silly child,' she said. 
' You're full of fancies, Marjory.' 

The curl of her lip and the shrug of her 
shoulders won no attention. 

1 It went across the garden from the door — 
across towards the gate,' said Marjory, ' towards 
the path down. I heard it. It came from near 
the door. I heard it' 

Mrs Dennison shook her head. The girl 
sprang forward and again caught her by the 


■*'* < You heard too ? ' she cried. ' I know you 
heard ! ' and a challenge rang in her voice. 

Mrs Dennison frowned as she shook her arm 

' I didn't hear,' she repeated impatiently, ' but 
I daresay you did. Perhaps it was a man — a 
thief, or somebody lost in the fog. Would 
you like me to wake the footman ? I can tell 
him to take a lantern and look if anyone's in 
the garden.' 

Marjory took no notice of the offer. 

' But if it was anyone, he'll have gone 
now,' continued Maggie Dennison, 'your open- 
ing the window will have frightened him. You 
made such a noise — you woke me up.' 

1 Were you asleep ? ' came in quick question. 

' Yes,' answered Mrs Dennison steadily, ' I 
was asleep. Couldn't you sleep ? ' 

' Sleep ? No, I couldn't sleep. I was afraid.' 

' You're as bad as the children/ said Mrs 
Dennison, laughing gently. 'Come, go back to 
bed. Shall I come and sit by you till it's 
light ? ' 

The girl seemed not to hear ; she drew 
nearer, searching Mrs Dennison's face with 
suspicious eyes. Maggie could not face her ; 
she dropped her glance to the floor and laughed 
nervously and fretfully. Suddenly Marjory 
threw herself on the floor at her friend's feet. 

' Maggie, come away from here,' she beseeched. 
' Do come ; do come away directly. Maggie, 
dear, I love you so, and — and I was unkind 
last night. Do come, darling ! We'll go back 


together — back home,' and she burst into 

Maggie Dennison stood passive and motion- 
less, her hands by her side. Her lips quivered 
and she looked down at the girl kneeling at her 

1 Won't you come ? ' moaned Marjory. ' Oh, 
Maggie, there's still time ! ' 

Mrs Dennison knew what she meant. A 
strange smile came over her face. Yes, there 
was time ; in a sense there was time, for the 
uncertain footfalls had not reached their goal — 
arrested by that cry from the window, they had 
stopped — wavered — retreated — and were gone. 
Because a girl had not slept, there was time. 
Yet what difference did it make that there was 
still time — to-night? Since to-morrow was 
coming and must come. 

' Time ! ' she echoed in a whisper. 

• For God's sake, come, Maggie ! Come to- 
morrow — you and the children. Come back 
with them to England ! Maggie, I can't stay 
here ! ' 

Mrs Dennison put out her hands and took 

' Get up,' she said almost roughly, and 
dragged the girl to her feet. ' You can go, 
Marjory ; I — I suppose you're not happy here. 
You can go.' 

' And you ? ' 

' I sha'n't go,' said Maggie Dennison. 

Marjory, standing now, shrank back from 


"S'You W on't go?' she whispered. 'Why, 
what are you staying for ? ' 

'You forget,' said Mrs Dennison coldly. ' I'm 
waiting for my husband.' 

' Oh ! ' moaned Marjory, a world of misery 
and contempt in her voice. 

At the tone Mrs Dennison's face grew rigid, 
and, if it could be, paler than before ; she had 
been called ' liar ' to her face, and truly. It 
was lost to-night her madness mourned — 
hoped-for to-morrow that held her in the place. 

The fog was lifting outside ; the darkness 
grew less dense ; a distant, dim, cold light began 
to reveal the day. 

' See, it's morning,' said Mrs Dennison. ' You 
needn't be afraid any longer. Won't you go 
back to your own room, Marjory ? ' 

Marjory nodded. She wore a helpless 
bewildered look, and she did not speak. She 
started to cross the room, when Mrs Dennison 
asked her, 

' Do you mean to go this morning ? I 
suppose the Seminghams will take you, if you 
like. We can make some excuse if you 

Marjory stood still, then she sank on a chair 
near her, and began to sob quietly. Mrs 
Dennison slowly walked to her, and stood by 
her. Then, gently and timidly, she laid her 
hand on the eirl's head. 

' Don't cry,' she said. ' Why should you 

Marjory clutched her hand, crying, 


' Maggie, Maggie, don't, don't ! ' 

Mrs Dennison's eyes filled with tears. She 
let her hand lie passive till the girl released it, 
and, looking up, said, 

' I'm not going, Maggie. I shall stay. Don't 
send me away ! Let me stay till Mr Dennison 

' What's the use ? You're unhappy here.' 

' Can't I help you ? ' asked the girl, so low 
that it seemed as though she were afraid to hear 
her own voice. 

Mrs Dennison's self-control suddenly gave 

' Help ! ' she cried recklessly. ' No, you can't 
help. Nobody can help. It's too late for any- 
one to help now.' 

The girl raised her head with a start. 

' Too late ! Maggie, you mean — ? ' 

' No, no, no,' cried Mrs Dennison, and then 
her eager cry died swiftly away. 

Why protest in horror? By no grace of 
hers was it that it was not too late. The 
girl's eyes were on her, and she stammered, 

' I mean nothing — nothing. Yes, you must 
go. I hate — no, no ! Marjory, don't push me 
away ! Let me touch you ! There's no reason 
I shouldn't touch you. I mean, I love you, 
but — I can't have you here.' 

' Why not ? ' came from the girl in slow, 
strong tones. 

A moment later, she sprang to her feet, 
her eyes full of new horror, as the vague suspicion 
grew to a strange undoubting certainty. 


'^Who was it in the garden? Who was out 
there ? Maggie, if I hadn't—? ' 

She could not end. On the last words her 
voice sank to a fearful whisper ; when she had 
uttered them — with their unfinished, yet plain 
and naked, question — she hid her face in her 
hands, listening for the answer. 

A minute — two minutes — passed. There was 
no sound but Maggie Dennison's quick breath- 
ings ; once she started forward with her lips 
parted as if to speak, and a look of defiance 
on her face ; once too, entreaty, hope, tenderness 
dawned for a moment. In anger or in sorrow, 
the truth was hard on being uttered ; but the 
impulse failed. She arrested the words on her 
lips, and with an angry jerk of her head, said 

' Oh, you're a silly girl, and you make me 
silly too. There's nothing the matter. I don't 
know who it was or what it was. Very likely 
it was nothing. I heard nothing. It was all 
your imagination.' Her voice grew harder, 
colder, more restrained as she went on. ' Don't 
think about what I've said to-night — and don't 
chatter about it. You upset me with your 
fancies. Marjory, it means nothing.' 

The last words were imperative in their 
insistence, but all the answer Marjory made 
was to raise her head and ask, 

1 Am I to go ? ' while her eyes added, too 
plainly for Maggie Dennison not to read them, 
' You know the meaning of that' 

Under the entreaty and the challenge of her 


eyes, Mrs Dennison could not give the answer 
which it was her purpose to give — the answer 
which would deny the mad hope that still 
filled her, the hope which still cried that, though 
to-night was gone, there was to-morrow. It 
was the answer she must make to all the 
world — which she must declare and study to 
confirm in all her acts and bearing. But there 
— alone with the girl — under the compelling 
influence of the reluctant confidence — that 
impossibility of open falsehood — which the 
time and occasion seemed strangely to build 
up between them — she could not give it plainly. 
She dared not bid the girl stay, with that hope 
at her heart ; she dared not cast away the cloak 
by bidding her go. 

' You must do as you like,' she said at last. 
' I can't help you about it' 

Marjory caught at the narrow chance the 
answer left her ; with returning tenderness, 
she stretched out her hands towards her friend, 

' Maggie, do tell me ! I shall believe what 
you tell me.' 

Mrs Dennison drew back from the contact 
of the outstretched hands. Marjory rose, and 
for an instant they stood looking at one another. 
Then Marjory turned, and walked slowly to 
the door. To her own room she went, to fear 
and to hope, if hope she could. 

Mrs Dennison was left alone. The night was 
far gone, the morning coming apace. Her lips 
moved, as she gazed from the window. Was 


ft irt thanksgiving for the escape of the night, 
or in joy that the morrow was already to-day ? 
She could not tell ; yes, she was glad — surely 
she was glad ? Yet, as at last she flung herself 
upon her bed, she murmured, ' He'll come early 
to-day,' and then she sobbed in shame. 



WILLIE RUSTON was half-dressed when 
the chamber-maid knocked at his door. 
He opened it and took from her three 
or four letters. Laying them on the table he 
finished his dressing — with him a quick process, 
devoid of the pleasant lounging by which 
many men cheat its daily tiresomeness. At 
last, when his coat was on, he walked two 
or three times up and down the room, frown- 
ing, smiling for an instant, frowning long 
again. Then he jerked his head impatiently 
as though he had had too much of his thoughts, 
and, going to the table, looked at the ad- 
dresses on his letters. With a sudden access 
of eagerness he seized on one and tore it open. 
It bore Carlin's handwriting, and he groaned to 
see that the four sides were close-filled. Old 
Carlin was terribly verbose and roundabout in 
his communications, and a bored look settled 
on Willie Ruston's face as he read a wilderness 
of small details, skirmishes with unruly clerks, 
iniquities of office-boys, lamentations on the 



apathy of the public, and lastly, a conscientious 
account of the health of the writer's household. 
With a sigh he turned the second page. 

' By the way,' wrote Carlin, ' I have had 
a letter from Detchmore. He draws back 
about the railway, and says the Government 
won't sanction it.' 

Willie Ruston raced through the rest, mutter- 
ing to himself as he read, ; Why the deuce 
didn't he wire? What an old fool it is!' 
and so forth. Then he flung down the letter, 
put his hands deep in his pockets and stood 
motionless for a few moments. 

' I must go at once,' he said aloud. 

He stood thinking, and a rare expression 
stole over his face. It showed a doubt, a 
hesitation, a faltering — the work and the 
mark of the day and the night that were 
gone. He walked about again ; he went to 
the window and stared out, jangling the money 
in his pockets. For nearly five minutes that 
expression was on his face. For nearly five 
minutes — and it seemed no short time — he 
was torn by conflicting forces. For nearly 
five minutes he wavered in his allegiance, and 
Omofaga had a rival that could dispute its 
throne. Then his brow cleared and his lips 
shut tight again. He had made up his mind ; 
great as the thing was that held him where 
he was, yet he must go, and the thing must 
wait. Wheeling round, he took up the letter 
and, passing quickly through the door, went 
to young Sir Walter's room, with the face 


of a man who knows grief and vexation 
but has set wavering behind him. 

It was an hour later when Adela Ferrars 
and the Seminghams sat down to their coffee. 
A fourth place was laid at the table, and 
Adela was in very good spirits. Tom Lor- 
ing had arrived ; they had greeted him, and 
he was upstairs making himself fit to be 
seen after a night- voyage ; his boat had lain 
three hours outside the harbour waiting for 
the fog to lift. ' I daresay,' said Tom, ' you 
heard our horn bellowing.' But he was here 
at last, and Adela was merrier than she had 
been in all her stay at Dieppe. Semingham 
also was happy ; it was a great relief to feel 
that there was someone to whom responsi- 
bility properly, or at least more properly, 
belonged, and an end, therefore, to all un- 
justifiable attempts to saddle mere onlookers 
with it. And Lady Semingham perceived 
that her companions were in a more genial 
mood than lately had been their wont, and 
expanded in the warmer air. When Tom 
came down nothing could exceed the empresse- 
merit of his welcome. 

The sun had scattered the last remnants 
of fog, and, on Semingh^m's proposal, the 
party passed from the table to a seat in the 
hotel garden, whence they could look at the 
sea. Here they became rather more silent ; 
for Adela began to feel that the hour of ex- 
planation was approaching, and grew surer 
and surer that to her would be left the task. 


Site- believed that Tom was tactful enough 
to spare her most of it, but something she 
must say — and to say anything was terribly 
difficult. Lord Semingham was treating the 
visit as though there were nothing behind ; 
and his wife had no inkling that there 
was anything behind. The wife's genius 
for not observing was matched by the hus- 
band's wonderful power of ignoring ; and if 
Adela had allowed herself to translate into 
words the exasperated promptings of her 
quick temper, she would have declared a desire 
to box the ears of both of them. It would 
have been vulgar, but entirely satisfactory. 

At last Tom, with carefully-prepared non- 
chalance, asked, 

' Oh, and how is Mrs Dennison ? ' 

Bessie Semingham assumed the question to 

' She's very well, thank you, Mr Loring. 
Dieppe has done her a world of good.' 

Adela pursed her lips together. Seming- 
ham, catching her eye, smothered a nascent 
smile. Tom frowned slightly, and, leaning 
forward, clasped his hands between his knees. 
Me was guilty of wishing that Bessie Seming- 
ham had more pressing avocations that morn- 

' You see,' she chirruped, ' Marjory's with 
her, and the children dote on Marjory, and 
she's got Mr Ruston and Walter to wait on 
her — you know Maggie always likes some- 
body in her train. Well, Alfred, why shouldn't 


I say that? I like to have someone my- 

' I didn't speak,' protested Semingham. 

' No, but you looked funny. I always say 
about Maggie, Mr Loring, that — ' 

All three were listening in some embarrass- 
ment ; out of the mouths of babes come some- 
times alarming things. 

' That without any apparent trouble she 
can make her clothes look better than anybody 
I know.' 

Lord Semingham laughed ; even Adela and 
Tom smiled. 

' What a blessed irrelevance you have, my 
dear,' said Semingham, stroking his wife's small 

Lady Semingham smiled delightedly and 
blushed prettily. She enjoyed Alfred's praise. 
He was so difficile as a rule. The exact point 
of the word ' irrelevance ' she did not stay 
to consider ; she had evidently said something 
that pleased him. A moment later she rose 
with a smile, crying, 

' Why, Mr Ruston, how good of you to come 
round so early ! ' 

Willie Ruston shook hands with her in hasty 
politenes?. A nod to Semingham, a lift of the 
hat to Adela, left him face to face with Tom 
Loring, who got up slowly. 

' Ah, Loring, how are you ? ' said Willie, hold- 
ing out his hand. 'Young Val told me you 
were to arrive to-day. How did you get across ? 
Uncommon foggy, wasn't it ? ' 


By this time he had taken Tom's hand and 
shaken it, Tom being purely passive. 

' By the way, you're all wrong about the 
water, you know,' he continued, in sudden re- 
membrance. ' There's enough water to supply 
Manchester within ten miles of Fort Imperial. 
What? Why, man, I'll show you the report 
when we get back to town ; good water, too. 
I had it analysed, and — well, it's all right ; but 
I haven't time to talk about it now. The fact 
is, Semingham, I came round to tell you that 
I'm off.' 

'Off?' exclaimed Semingham, desperately 
fumbling for his eyeglass. 

Adela clasped her hands, and her eyes 
sparkled. Tom scrutinised Willie Ruston 
with attentive eyes. 

1 Yes ; to-day — in an hour ; boat goes at 
11*30. I've had a letter from old Carlin. 
Things aren't going well. That ass Detch 
— By Jove, though, I forgot you, Loring ! 
I don't want to give you materials for an- 
other of those articles.' 

His rapidity, his bustle, his good humour 
were all amazing. 

Tom glanced in bewilderment at Adela. 
Adela coloured deeply. She felt that she 
had no adequate reason to give for having 
summoned Tom Loring to Dieppe, unless 
(she brightened as the thought struck her) 
Tom had frightened Ruston away. 

Willie seized Semingham's arm, and began 
to walk him (the activity seemed all on 


Willie's part) quickly up and down the 
garden. He held Carlin's letter in his hand, 
and he talked eagerly and fast, beating the 
letter with his fist now and again. Bessie 
Semingham sat down with an amiable smile. 
Adela and Tom were close together. Adela 
lifted her eyes to Tom's in question. 

'What?' he asked. 

' Do you think it's true ? ' she whispered. 

' He's the finest actor alive if it isn't,' said 
Tom, watching the beats of Ruston's 

' Then thank heaven ! But I feel so foolish.' 

' Hush ! here they come,' said Tom. 

There was no time for more. 

' Tom, there's riches in it for you if we 
told you,' laughed Semingham ; ' but Ruston's 
going to put it all right.' 

Tom gave a not very easy laugh. 

' Fancy old Carlin not wiring ! ' exclaimed 
Willie Ruston. 

' Shall I sell ? ' asked Adela, trying to be 

1 Hold for your life, Miss Ferrars,' said 
Willie ; and going up to Bessie Semingham 
he held out his hand. 

'What, are you really off? It's too bad 
of you, Mr Ruston ! Not that I've seen 
much of you. Maggie has quite monopolised 

Adela and Tom looked at the ground. 
Semingham turned his back ; his smile would 
not be smothered. 


' Of course you're going to say good-bye 
to her?' pursued Lady Semingham. 

Tom looked up, and Adela followed his 
example. They were rewarded — if it were a 
reward — by seeing a slight frown — the first 
shadow since he had been with them — on 
Ruston's brow. But he answered briskly, 
with a glance at his watch, 

' I can't manage it. I should miss the 
boat. I must write her a line.' 

' Oh, she'll never forgive you,' cried Lady 

' Oh, yes, she will,' he laughed. ' It's for 
Omofaga, you know. Good-bye. Good-bye. 
I'm awfully sorry to go. Good-bye.' 

He was gone. It was difficult to realise 
at first. His presence, the fact of him, had 
filled so large a space ; it had been the feature 
of the place from the day he had joined 
them. It had been their interest and their 

For a moment the three stood staring at 
one another; then Semingham, with a curious 
laughs turned on his heel and went into 
the house. His wife unfolded yesterday's 
Morning Post and began to read. 

' Come for a stroll,' said Tom Loring to 

She accompanied him in silence, and they 
walked a hundred yards or more before she 

' What a blessing ! ' she said then. ' I 
wonder if your coming sent him away?' 



' No ; it was genuine,' declared Tom, with 

'Then I was very wrong, or he's a most 
extraordinary man. I can't talk to you 
about it, Mr Loring, but you told me I 
might send. And I did think it — desirable — 
when I wrote. I did, indeed. I hope you're 
not very much annoyed ? ' 

' Annoyed ! No ; I was delighted to come. 
And I am still more delighted that it looks 
as if I wasn't wanted.' 

' Oh, you're wanted, anyhow,' said Adela. 

She was very happy in his coming, and 
could not help showing it a little. Fortun- 
ately, it was tolerably certain (as she felt 
sometimes, intolerably certain) that Tom 
Loring would not notice anything. He 
never seemed to consider it possible that 
people might be particularly glad to see 

' And you can stay, can't you ? ' she 

' Oh, yes ; I can stay a bit. I should 
like to. What made you send ? ' 

' You know. I can't possibly describe it' 

1 Did Semingham notice it too ? ' 

'Yes, he did, Mr Loring. I distrust that 
man — Mr Ruston, I mean — utterly. And 
Maggie — ' 

' She's wrapped up in him ? ' 

'Terribly. I tried to think it was his 
wretched Omofaga ; but it's not ; it's him.' 

'Well, he's disposed of.' 


'Yes, indeed/ she sighed, in complacent 

' I must go and see her, you know,' said 
Tom, wrinkling his brow. 

Adela laughed. 

' What'll she say to me ? ' asked Tom 

' Oh, she'll be very pleasant' 

' I sha'n't,' said Tom, with sudden de- 

Adela looked at him curiously. 

1 You mean to — to give her " a bit of your 
mind ? " ' 

' Well, yes,' he answered, smiling. ' I think 
so ; don't you ? ' 

' I should like to, if I dared.' 

' Why, you dare anything ! ' exclaimed Tom. 

' Oh, no, I don't. I splash about a good 
deal, but I am a coward, really.' 

They relapsed into silence. Presently Tom 

' It's been awfully dull in town ; nobody 
to speak to, except Mrs Cormack.' 

' Mrs Cormack ! ' cried Adela. ' I thought 
you hated her ? ' 

' Well, I've thought a little better of her 

' To think of you making friends with Mrs 
Cormack ! ' 

' I haven't made friends with her. She's 
not such a bad woman as you'd think, 

' I think she's horrible,' said Adela. 


Tom gave it up. 

' There was no one else,' he pleaded. 

' Well,' retorted Adela, ' when there is any- 
one else, you never come near them.' 

The grammar was confused, but Adela 
could not improve it, without being landed 
in unbearable plainness of speech. 

' Don't I ? ' he asked. ' Why, I come and 
see you.' 

' Oh, for twenty minutes once a month ; 
just to keep the acquaintance open, I sup- 
pose. It's like shutting all the gates on 
Ascension Day (isn't it Ascension Day?), only 
the other way round, you know.' 

'You so often quarrel with me,' said 

' What nonsense ! ' said Adela. ' Anyhow, 
I won c quarrel here.' 

Tom glanced at her. She was looking 
bright and happy and young. He liked 
her even better here in Dieppe than in a 
London drawing-room. Her conversation was 
not so elaborate, but it was more spontane- 
ous and, to his mind, pleasanter. Moreover, 
the sea air had put colour in her cheeks and 
painted her complexion afresh. The thought 
strayed through Tom's mind that she was 
looking quite handsome. It was the one 
good thing that he did not always think 
about her. He went on studying her till 
she suddenly turned and caught him. 

4 Well,' she asked with a laugh and a blush. 
' do I wear well ? ' 


' You always talk as if you were seventy,' said 
Tom reprovingly. 

Adela laughed merrily. The going of Ruston 
and the coming of Tom were almost too much 
good-fortune for one day. And Tom had 
come in a pleasant mood. 

' You don't really like Mrs Cormack, do 
you ? ' she asked. ' She hates me, you know.' 

' Oh, if I have to choose between you — ' 
said Tom, and stopped. 

' You stop at the critical moment.' 

' Well, Mrs Cormack isn't here,' said Tom. 

1 So I shall do to pass the time ? ' 

' Yes,' he laughed ; and then they both 

But suddenly Adela's laugh ceased, and she 
jumped up. 

' There's Marjory Valentine ! ' she exclaimed. 

' What ! Where ? ' asked Tom, rising. 

' No, stay where you are, I want to speak 
to her. I'll come back,' and, leaving Tom, 
she sped after Marjory, calling her name. 

Marjory looked round and hastened to meet 
her. She was pale and her eyes heavy for 
trouble and want of sleep. 

'Oh, Adela, I'm so glad to find you. I 
was going to look for you at the hotel. I 
must talk to you.' 

' You shall,' said Adela, taking her arm 
and smiling again. 

She did not notice Marjory's looks ; she 
was full of her own tidings. 

' I want to ask you whether you think 


Lady Semingham — ' began Marjory, growing 
red, and in great embarrassment. 

' Oh, but hear my news first,' cried Adela ; 
' Marjory, he's gone ! ' 


' Why, that man— Mr Ruston.' 

' Gone ! ' echoed Marjory in amazement. 

To her it seemed incredible that he should 
be gone — strange perhaps to Adela, but to 
her incredible. 

' Yes, this morning. He got a letter — some- 
thing about his Company — and he was off on 
the spot. And Tom — Mr Loring (he's come, 
you know) thinks — that that really was his 
reason, you know.' 

Marjory listened with wide-open eyes. 

' Oh, Adela ! ' she said at last with a sort 
of shudder. 

She could have believed it of no other man ; 
she could hardly believe it of one who now 
seemed to her hardly a man. 

' Isn't it splendid ? And he went off without 
seeing — without going up to the cliff at all. 
I never was so delighted in my life.' 

Marjory was silent. No delight showed on 
her face : the time for that was gone. She 
did not understand, and she was thinking of 
the night's experience and wondering if Maggie 
Dennison had known that he was going. No, 
she could not have known. 

1 But what did you want with me, or with 
Bessie ? ' asked Adela. 

Marjory hesitated. The departure of Willie 


Ruston made a difference. She prayed that 
it meant an utter difference. There was a 
chance ; and while there was a chance her 
place was in the villa on the cliff. His going 
rekindled the spark of hope that almost had 
died in the last terrible night. 

' I think,' she said slowly, ' that I'll go 
straight back.' 

' And tell Maggie ? ' asked Adela with ex- 
cited eyes. 

' If she doesn't know.' 

Adela said nothing ; the subject was too 
perilous. She even regretted having said so 
much ; but she pressed her friend's arm 

* It doesn't matter about Lady Semingham 
just now,' said Marjory in an absent sort of 
tone. ' It will do later.' 

' You're not looking well,' remarked Adela, 
who had at last looked at her. 

1 I had a bad night' 

' And how's Maggie ? ' 

The girl paused a moment. 

' I' haven't seen her this morning. She sent 
word that she would breakfast in bed. I'll 
just run up now, Adela.' 

She walked off rapidly. Adela watched 
her, feeling uneasy about her. There was a 
strange constraint about her manner — a hint 
of something suppressed — and it was easy to 
see that she was nervous and unhappy. But 
Adela, making lighter of her old fears in her 
new-won comfort, saw only in Marjory a grief 


■ .i 

that is very sad to bear, a sorrow that comes 
where love — or what is nearly love — meets 
with indifference. 

' She's still thinking about that creature ! ' 
said Adela to herself in scorn and in pity. 
She had quite made up her mind about 
Willie Ruston now. ' I'm awfully sorry for her.' 
Adela, in fact, felt very sympathetic. For 
the same thing might well happen with love 
that rested on a worthier object than ' that 
creature, Willie Ruston ! ' 

Meanwhile the creature — could he himself 
at the moment have quarrelled with the 
word ?— was carried over the waves, till the 
cliff and the house on it dipped and died 
away. The excitement of the message and 
the start was over ; the duty that had been 
strong enough to take him away could not 
yet be done. A space lay bare — exposed 
to the thoughts that fastened on it. Who 
could have escaped their assault ? Not even 
Willie Ruston was proof; and his fellow- 
voyagers wondered at the man with the 
frowning brows and fretful, restless eyes. It 
had not been easy to do, or pleasant to see 
done, this last sacrifice to the god of his 
life. Yet it had been done, with hardly a 
hesitation. He paced the deck, saying to 
himself, 'She'll understand.' Would any 
woman ? If any, then, without doubt, she 
was the woman. ' Oh, she'll understand,' he 
muttered petulantly, angry with himself be- 
cause he would not be convinced. Once, in 


despair, he tried to tell himself that this end 
to it was what people would call ordered for 
the best — that it was an escape for him — 
still more for her. But his strong, self-pene- 
trating sense pushed the plea aside — in him 
it was hypocrisy, the merest conventionality. 
He had not even the half-stifled thanks- 
giving for respite from a doom still longed 
for, which had struggled for utterance in 
Maggie's sobs. Yet he had something that 
might pass for it — a feeling that made even 
him start in the knowledge of its degradation. 
By fate, or accident, or mischance — call it 
what he might — there was nothing irrevocable 
yet. He could draw back still. Not thanks- 
giving for sin averted, but a shamefaced sense 
of an enforced safety made its way into his 
mind — till it was thrust aside by anger at the 
check that had baffled him, and by the longing 
that was still upon him. 

Well, anyhow — for good or evil — willing or 
unwilling — he was away. And she was alone 
in the little house on the cliff. His face 
softened ; he ceased to think of himself for a 
moment ; he thought of her, as she would 
look when he did not come — when he was 
false to a tryst never made in words, but 
surely the strongest that had ever bound a 
man. He clenched his fists as he stood looking 
from the stern of the boat, muttering again 
his old plea, « She'll understand ! ' 

Was there not the railway ? 



MRS DENNISON needed not Marjory 
to tell her. She had received Willie 
Ruston's note just as she was about 
to leave her bedroom. It was scribbled in 
pencil on half a sheet of notepaper. 

' Am called back to England — something 
wrong about our railway. Very sorry I can't 
come and say good-bye. I shall run back if 
I can, but I'm afraid I may be kept in Eng- 
land. Will you write ? W. R. R.' 

She read it. and stood as if changed to 
stone. ' Something wrong about our railway ! ' 
Surely an all-sufficient reason ; the writer had 
no doubt of that. He might be kept in Eng- 
land ; that meant he would be, and the writer 
seemed to see nothing strange in the fact 
that he could be. She did not doubt the 
truth of what the note said. A man lying 
would have piled Pelion on Ossa, reason on 
reason, excuse on excuse, protestation on pro- 



testation. Besides Willie Ruston did not lie. 
It was just the truth, the all-sufficient truth. 
There was something wrong with the railway, 
so he left her. He would lose a day if he 
missed the boat, so he left her without a 
word of farewell. The railway must not suffer 
for his taking holiday ; her suffering was all 
his holiday should make. 

Slowly she tore the note into the smallest 
of fragments, and the fragments fell at her 
feet. And his passionate words were still in 
her ears, his kisses still burnt on her cheek. 
This was the man whom to sway had been 
her darling ambition, whom to love was her 
great sin, whom to know, as in this moment 
she seemed to know him, her bitter punish- 
ment. In her heart she cried to heaven, 
1 Enough, enough ! ' 

The note was his — his to its last line, its 
last word, its last silence. The man stood 
there self-epitomised ; callous and careless, un- 
merciful, unbending, unturning ; vowed to his 
quest, recking of naught else. But — she clung 
to this, the last plank in her shipwreck — great 
— one of the few for whom the general must 
make stepping-stones. She thought she had 
been one of the few ; that torn note told her 
error. Still, she had held out her hands to 
ruin for no common clay's sake. But it was 
too hard — too hard — too hard. 

'Will you write ? J Was he tender there? 
Her bitterness would not grant him even that. 
He did not want her to slip away. The 


smallest addition will make the greatest realm 
greater, and its loss sully the king's majesty. 
So she must write, as she must think and 
dream — and remember. 

Perhaps he might choose to come again — 
some day — and she was to be ready ! 

She went downstairs. In the hall she met 
her children, and they said something to her ; 
they talked and chattered to her, and, with 
the surface of her mind, she understood ; and 
she listened and answered and smiled. And 
all that they had said and she had said 
went away ; and she found them gone, and 
herself alone. Then she passed to the sitting- 
room, where was Marjory Valentine, breath- 
less from mounting the path too quickly ; 
and at sight of Marjory's face, she said, 

' I've heard from Mr Ruston. He has been 
called away,' forestalling Marjory's trembling 

Then she sat down, and there was a long 
silence. She was conscious of Marjory there, 
but the girl did not speak, and presently 
the impression of her, which was very faint, 
faded altogether away, and Maggie Dennison 
seemed to herself alone again — thinking, 
dreaming, and remembering, as she must now 
think, dream, and remember — remembering 
the day that was gone, thinking of what this 
day should have been. 

She sat for an hour, still and idle, looking 
out across the sea, and Marjory sat motion- 
less behind, gazing at her with despair in her 


eyes. At last the girl could bear it no 
longer. It was unnatural, unearthly, to sit 
there like that ; it was as though, by an im- 
possibility, a dead soul were clothed with a 
living breathing body. Marjory rose and 
came close, and called, 

1 Maggie, Maggie ! ' 

Her voice was clear and louder than her 
ordinary tones, she spoke as if trying to force 
someone to hear. 

Maggie Dennison started, looked round, 
and passed her hand rapidly across her brow. 

1 Maggie, I — I've not done anything about 

'Going?' echoed Maggie Dennison. But 
her mind was clearing now ; her brain had 
been stunned, not killed, and her will drove 
it to wakefulness and work again. ' Going ? 
Oh, I hope not.' 

'You know, last night — ' began Marjory, 
timidly, flushing, keeping behind Mrs Denni- 
son's chair. ' Last night we — we talked about 
it, but I thought perhaps now — ' 

'Oh,' interrupted Mrs Dennison, 'never mind 
last night. For goodness' sake, forget last night. 
I think we were both mad last night.' 

Marjory made no answer ; and Mrs Denni- 
son, her hand having swept her brow once 
again, turned to her with awakened and alert 

'You upset me — and then I upset you. 
And we both behaved like hysterical creatures. 
If I told you to go, I was silly; and if 


you said you wanted to go, you were silly 
too, Marjory. Of course, you must stop ; 
and do forget that — nonsense — last night.' 

Her tone was eager and petulant, the colour 
was returning to her cheeks ; she looked alive 

Marjory leant an arm on the back of the 
chair, looking down into Maggie Dennison's 

' I will stay,' she said softly, ignoring every- 
thing else, and then she swiftly stooped and 
kissed Maggie's cheek. 

Mrs Dennison shivered and smiled, and, 
detaining the girl's head, most graciously 
returned her caress. Mrs Dennison was for- 
giving everything ; by forgiveness it might 
be that she could buy of Marjory forgetful- 

There was a ring at the door. Marjory 
looked through the window. 

' It's Mr Loring,' she said in a whisper. 

Maggie Dennison smiled — graciously again. 

1 It's very kind of him to come so soon ' 
said she. 

'Shall I go?' 

1 Go ? No, child — unless you want to. You 
know him too. And we've no secrets, Tom 
Loring and I.' 

Tom Loring had mounted the hill very 
slowly. The giving of that ' piece of his 
mind ' seemed not altogether easy. He might 
paint poor Harry's forlorn state ; Mrs Denni- 
son would be politely concerned and politely 



sceptical about it. He might tell her again 
— as he had told her before — that Willie 
Ruston was a knave and a villain, and she 
might laugh or be angry, as her mood was; 
but she would not believe. Or he might up- 
braid her for folly or for worse; and this was 
what he wished to do. Would she listen ? 
Probably — with a smile on her lips and mock- 
ing little compliments on his friendly zeal 
and fatherly anxiety. Or she might flash out 
on him, and call his charge an insult, and 
drive him away ; and a word from her would 
turn poor old Harry into his enemy. Decidedly 
his task was no easy one. 

It was a coward's joy that he felt when he 
found a third person there ; but he felt it 
from the bottom of his heart. Divine delay ! 
Gracious impossibility ! How often men adore 
them ! Tom Loring gave thanks, praying 
silently that Marjory would not withdraw, 
shook hands as though his were the most 
ordinary morning call, and began to discuss 
the scenery of Dieppe, and — as became a 
newcomer — the incidents of his voyage. 

' And while you were all peacefully in your 
beds, we were groping about outside in that 
abominable fog,' said he. 

' How you must have envied us ! ' smiled Mrs 
Dennison, and Marjory found herself smiling 
in emulous hypocrisy. But her smile was very 
unsuccessful, and it was well that Tom Loring's 
eyes were on his hostess. 

Then Mrs Dennison began to talk about 


Willie Ruston and her own great interest in 
him, and in the Omofaga Company. She was 
very good-humoured to Tom Loring, but she 
did not fail to remind him how unreasonable 
he had been — was still, wasn't he ? The per- 
fection of her manner frightened Marjory and 
repelled her. Yet it would have seemed an 
effort of bravery, had it been done with 
visible struggling. But it betrayed no effort, 
and therefore made no show of bravery. 

; So now,' said Maggie Dennison, ' since I 
haven't got Mr Ruston to exchange sympathy 
with, I must exchange hostilities with you. 
It will still be about Omofaga— that's one 



Tom had definitely decided to put off his 
lecture. The old manner he had known and 
mocked and admired — the ' these-are-the-orders ' 
manner — was too strong for him. He be- 
lieved he was still fond of her. He knew that 
he wondered at her still. Could it be true 
what they told him — that she was as a child 
in the hands of Willie Ruston ? He hated 
to think that, because it must mean that 
Willie Ruston was — well, not quite an 
ordinary person — a conclusion Tom loathed 
to accept. 

' And you're going to stay some time with 
the Seminghams ? That'll be very pleasant. 
And Adela will like to have you so much. 
Oh, you can convert her ! She's a share- 
holder. And you must have a talk to the 
old Baron. You've heard of him ? But then 



he believes in Mr Ruston, as I do, so you'll 
quarrel with him.' 

'Perhaps I shall convert him,' suggested 

' Oh, no, we thorough believers are past 
praying for ; aren't we, Marjory ? ' 

Marjory started. 

'Past praying for?' she echoed. 

Her thoughts had strayed from the con- 
versation — back to what she had been bidden 
to forget ; and she spoke not as one who 
speaks a trivial phrase. 

For an instant a gleam of something — anger 
or fright — shot from Maggie Dennison's eyes. 
The next, she was playfully, distantly, delicately 
chaffing Tom about the meaning of his sudden 

' Of course net — ' she began. 

And Tom, interrupting, stopped the ' Adela.' 

' And you stay here too ? ' he asked, to turn 
the conversation. 

'Why, of course,' smiled Mrs Dennison. 
'After being here all this time, it would look 
rather funny if I ran away just when Harry's 
coming. I think he really would have a 
right to be aggrieved then.' She paused, and 
added more seriously, 'Oh, yes, I shall wait 
here for Harry.' 

Then Tom Loring rose and took his leave. 
Mrs Dennison entrusted him with an invita- 
tion to the whole of the Seminghams' party 
to luncheon next day ('If they don't mind 
squeezing into our little room/ she gaily added), 



and walked with him to the top of the path, 
waving her hand to him in friendly farewell 
as he began to descend. And, after he was 
gone, she stood for a while looking out to sea. 
Then she turned. Marjory was in the window 
and saw her face as she turned. In a mo- 
ment Maggie Dennison saw her looking, and 
smiled brightly. But the one short instant had 
been enough. The feelings first numbed, then 
smothered, had in that second sprung to life, 
and Marjory shrank back with a little in- 
articulate cry of pain and horror. Almost as 
she uttered it, Mrs Dennison was by her side. 

' We'll go out this afternoon,' she said. ' I 
think I shall lie down for an hour. We 
managed to rob ourselves of a good deal of 
sleep last night. You'd better do the same.' 
She paused, and then she added, ' You're a 
good child, Marjory. You're very kind to 

There was a quiver in her voice, but it was 
only that, and it was Marjory, not she, who 
burst into sobs. 

' Hush, hush,' whispered Maggie Dennison. 
' Hush, dear, Don't do that. Why should 
you do that ? ' and she stroked the girl's hot 
cheek, wet with tears. ' I'm very tired, 
Marjory,' she went on. 'Do you think you 
can dry your eyes — your silly eyes — and 
help me upstairs? I — I can hardly stand,' 
and, as she spoke, she swayed and caught 
at the curtain by her, and held herself up 
by it. ' No, I can go alone ! ' she exclaimed 


almost fiercely. ' Leave me alone, Marjory, 
I can walk. I can walk perfectly;' and she 
walked steadily across the room, and Marjory 
heard her unwavering step mounting the stairs 
to her bedroom. 

But Marjory did not see her enter her 
room, stop for a moment over the scraps of 
torn paper, still lying on the floor, stoop and 
gather them one by one, then put them in an 
envelope, and the envelope in her purse, and 
then throw herself on the bed in an agony 
of dumb pain, with the look on her face that 
had come for a moment in the garden and 
came now, fearless of being driven away, lined 
strong and deep, as though graven with some 
sharp tool. 



IT may be that the Baron thought he had 
sucked the orange of life very dry — at 
least, when the cold winds and the fog 
had done their work, he accepted without pas- 
sionate disinclination the hint that he must 
soon take his lips from the fruit. He went to 
bed and made a codicil to his will, having it 
executed and witnessed with every requisite 
formality. Then he announced to Lord Sem- 
ingham, who came to see him, that, according 
to his doctor's opinion and his own, he might 
manage to breathe a week longer ; and Sem- 
ingham, looking upon him, fancied, without 
saying, that the opinion was a sanguine one. 
This happened five days before Harry Denni- 
son's arrival at Dieppe. 

' I am very fortunate,' said the Baron, ' to 
have found such kind friends for the last 
stage ; ' and he looked from Lady Seming- 
ham's flowers to Adela's grapes. ' I could 
have bought them, of course,' he added. ' I've 
always been able to buy — everything.' 



The old man smiled as he spoke, and Sem- 
ingham smiled also. 

' This,' continued the Baron, ' is the third time 
I have been laid up like this.' 

1 There's luck in odd numbers,' observed Sem- 

' But which would be luck ? ' asked the 

1 Ah, there you gravel me,' admitted Seming- 

' I came here against orders, because I must 
needs poke my old nose into this concern of 
yours — ' 

' Not of mine.' 

'Of yours and others'? Well, I poked it in 
— and the frost has caught the end of it' 

' I don't take any particular pleasure in the 
concern myself,' said Semingham, ' and I wish 
you'd kept your nose out, and yourself in a 
more balmy climate.' 

' My dear Lord, the market is rising.' 

' I know,' smiled Semingham. ' Tom Loring 
can't make out who the fools are who are buy- 
ing. He said so this morning.' 

The Baron began to laugh, but a cough choked 
his mirth. 

' He's a honest and an able man, your Loring ; 
but he doesn't see clear in everything. I've been 
buying, myself.' 

' Oh, you have ? ' 

4 Yes, and someone has been selling — selling 
largely — or the price would have been driven 
higher. It is you, perhaps, my friend ? ' 


'Not a share. I have the vices of an aristo- 
cracy. I am stubborn.' 

' Who, then ? ' 

' It might be — Dennison.' 

The Baron nodded. 

' But what did you want with 'em, Baron ? 
Will they pay?' 

1 Oh, I doubt that. But I wanted them. 
Why should Dennison sell ? ' 

' I suppose he doubts, like you.' 

' Perhaps it is that.' 

' Perhaps,' said Semingham. 

In the course of the next three days they 
had many conversations ; the talks did the 
Baron no good nor, as his doctor significantly 
said, any harm ; and when he could not talk, 
Semingham sat by him and told stories. He 
spoke too, frequently, of Willie Ruston, and 
of the Company — that interested the Baron. 
And at last, on the third day, they began to 
speak of Maggie Dennison ; but neither of 
them connected the two names in talk. In- 
deed Semingham, according to his custom, 
had rushed at the possibility of ignoring 
such connection. Ruston's disappearance had 
shown him a way ; and he embraced the 
happy chance. He was always ready to think 
that any ' fuss ' was a mistake ; and, as he 
told the Baron, Mrs Dennison had been in 
great spirits lately, cheered up, it seemed, 
by the prospect of her husband's immediate 
arrival. The Baron smiled to hear him ; then 
he asked, 



1 Do you think she would come to see 

Semingham promised to ask her ; and, 
although the Baron was fit to see nobody the 
next day — for he had moved swiftly towards 
his journey's end in those twenty-four hours 
— yet Mrs Dennison came and was admitted ; 
and, at sight of the Baron, who lay yellow and 
gasping, forgot both her acting and, for an 
instant, the reality which it hid. 

' Oh ! ' she cried before she could stop herself, 
' how ill you look ! Let me make you com- 
fortable ! ' 

The Baron did not deny her. He had some- 
thing to say to her. 

' When does your husband come ? ' he 

' To-morrow,' said she briefly. 

She did all she could for his comfort, and 
then sat down by his bedside. He had an 
interval of some freedom from oppression 
and his mind was clear and concentrated. 

' I want to tell you,' he began, ' something 
that I have done.' He paused, and added a 
question, ' Ruston does not come back to 
Dieppe, I suppose?' 

' I think not. He is detained on business,' 
she answere I, ' and he will be more tied when 
my husband leaves.' 

' Your husband will not long be concerned 
in the Omofaga,' said he. 

She started ; the Baron told her what he had 
told Semingham. 


' He will soon resign his place on the Board, 
you will see,' he ended. 

She sat silent. 

' He will have nothing more to do with it, 
you will see ; ' and, turning to her, he asked 
with a sudden spurt of vigour, ' Do you know 

' How should I ? ' she answered steadily. 

' And I — I have done my part too. I have 
left him some money ' (she knew that the Baron 
did not mean her husband) ' and all the shares 
I held.' 

' You've done that ? ' she cried, with a sudden 
light in her eyes. 

1 Yes. You do not want to know why ? ' 

' Oh, I know you admired him. You told 
me so.' 

'Yes, that in part. I did admire him. He 
was what I have never been. I wish he was 
here now. I should like to look at that face 
of his before I die. But it was not for his 
sake that I left him the money. Why, he 
could get it without me if he needed it ! You 
don't ask me why ? ' 

In his excitement he had painfully pulled 
himself higher up on his pillows, and his head 
was on a level with hers now. He looked 
right into her eyes. She was very pale, but 
calm and self-controlled. 

' I don't know,' she said. ' Why have 
you ? ' 

• It will make him independent of your hus- 
band,' said the Baron. 


Mrs Dennison dropped her eyes and raised 
them again in a swift, questioning glance. 

' Yes, and of you. He need not look to you 

He paused and added, slowly, punctuating 
every word, 

' You will not be necessary to him now.' 

Mrs Dennison met his glance full and 
straight ; the Baron stretched out his hand. 

'Ah, forgive me!' he exclaimed. 

' There's nothing to forgive,' said she. 

1 1 saw ; I knew ; I have felt it. Now he 
will go away ; he will not lean on you now. 
I have set him where he can stand alone.' 

A smile, half scornful and half sad, came on 
her face. 

' You hate me,' said the Baron. ' But I am 

'I was — we were never necessary to him,' 
said she. ' Ah, Baron, this is no news you 
give me. I know him better than that.' 

He raised himself higher still, panting as 
he rested on his elbow. His head craned for- 
ward towards her as he whispered, 

' I'm a dying man. You can tell me.' 

'If you were a dead man — ' she burst out 
passionately. Then she suddenly recovered 
herself. ' My dear Baron,' she went on, ' I'm 
very glad you've done this for Mr Ruston.' 

He sank down on his pillows with a weary 

' Let him alone, let him alone,' he moaned. 
' You thought yourself strong.' 


' I suppose you mean kindly,' she said, 
speaking very coldly. ' Indeed, that you 
should think of me at all just now shows 
it. But, Baron, you are disquieting yourself 
without cause.' 

' I'm an old man, and a sick man,' he 
pleaded, ' and you, my dear — ' 

' Ah, suppose I have been — whatever you 
like — indiscreet ? Well — ? ' 

She paused, for he made a feebly impatient 
gesture. Mrs Dennison kept silence for a mo- 
ment ; then in a low tone she said, 

' Baron, why do you speak to a woman 
about such things, unless you want her to 
lie to you ? ' 

The Baron, after a moment, gave his answer, 
that was no answer. 

' He is gone,' he said. 

' Yes, he is gone — to look after his rail- 

' It is finished then ? ' he half asked, half im- 
plored, and just caught her low-toned reply. 

' Finished ? Who for ? ' Then she suddenly 
raised her voice crying, ' What is it to you ? 
Why can't I be let alone ? How dare you make 
me talk about it ? ' 

' I have done,' said he, and, laying his thin, 
yellow hand in hers, he went on, ' If you meet 
him again — and I think you will — tell him that 
1 longed to see him, as a man that is dying 
longs for his son. He would be a breath of life 
to me in this room, where everything seems 
dead. He is full of life — full as a tiger. And 


you can tell him — ' He stopped a moment and 
smiled. ' You can tell him why I was a buyer 
of Omofagas. What will he say ? ' 

' What will he say ? ' she echoed, with wide- 
opened eyes, that watched the old man's slow- 
moving lips. 

' Will he weep ? ' asked the Baron. 

' In God's name, don't ! ' she stammered. 

' He will say, " Behold, the Baron von Gelt- 
schmidt was a good man — he was of use in the 
world — may he sleep in peace. And now — how 
goes the railway ? " ' 

The old man lay silent, with a grim smile on 
his face. The woman sat by, with lips set tight 
in an agony of repression. At last she spoke. 

1 If I'd known you were going to tell me this, 
I wouldn't have come.' 

■ It's hard, hard, hard, but — ' 

' Oh, not that. But— I knew it' 

She rose to her feet. 

' Good-bye,' said the Baron. ' I sha'n't see 
you again. God make it light for you, my 

She would not seem to hear him. She 
smoothed his pillows and his scanty strag- 
gling hair; then she kissed his forehead. 

1 Good-bye,' she said. ' I will tell Willie when 
I see him. I shall see him soon.' 

The old man moaned softly and miserably. 

' It would be better if you lay here,' he said. 

' Yes, I suppose so,' she answered, almost list- 
lessly. ' Good-bye.' 

Suddenly he detained her, catching her hand. 


' Do you believe in people meeting again any- 
where ? ' he asked. 

' Oh, I suppose so. No, I don't know, I'm 

' They've been telling me to have a priest. I 
call myself a Catholic, you know. What can I 
say to a priest ? I have done nothing but make 
money. If that is a sin, it's too simple to need 
confession, and I've done too much of it for 
absolution. How can I talk to a priest? I 
shall have no priest.' 

She did not speak, but let him hold her hand. 

' If,' he went on, with a little smile, ' I'm asked 
anywhere what I've done, I must say, " I've 
made money." That's all I shall have to say.' 

She stooped low over him and whispered, 

1 You can say one more thing, Baron — one 
little thing. You once tried to save a woman,' 
and she kissed him again and was gone. 

Outside the house, she found Semingham 
waiting for her. 

' Oh, I say, Mrs Dennison,' he cried, ' Harry's 
come. He got away a day earlier than he ex- 
pected. I met him driving up towards your 

For just a moment she stood aghast. It came 
upon her with a shock ; between a respite of a 
day and the actual terrible now, there had 
seemed a gulf. 

'Is he there — at the house — now ? ' she 

Semingham nodded. 

'Will you walk up with me?' she asked 



eagerly. ' I must go directly, you know. He'll 
be so sorry not to find me there. Do you mind 
coming? I'm tired.' 

He offered his arm, and she almost clutched 
at it, but she walked with nervous quick- 

1 Pie's looking very well,' said Semingham. ' A 
bit fagged, and so on, you know, of course, but 
he'll soon get all right here. 

'Yes, yes, very soon,' she replied absently, 
quickening her pace till he had to force his to 
match it. But, half-way up the hill, she stopped 
suddenly, breathing rapidly. 

'Yes, take a rest, we've been bucketing,' said 

' Did he ask after me ? ' 

' Yes ; directly.' 

' And you said— ? ' 

' Oh, that you were all right, Mrs Dennison.' 

' Thanks. Has he seen Mr Loring ? ' 

' No ; but he knew he had come here. He 
told me so.' 

' Well, I needn't take you right up, need I ? ' 

Semingham thought of some jest about not 
intruding on the sacred scene, but the jest did 
not come. Somehow he shrank from it. Mrs 
Dennison did not. 

'We shall want to fall on one another's necks,' 
said she, smiling. ' And you'd feel in the way. 
You hate honest emotions, you know.' 

He nodded, lifted his hat, and turned. On 
his way down alone, he stopped once for a 
moment and exclaimed, 


' Good heavens ! And I believe she'd rather 
meet the devil himself. She is a woman ! ' 

Mrs Dennison pursued her way at a gentler 
pace. Before she came in sight, she heard her 
children's delighted chatterings, and, a moment 
later, Harry's hearty tones. His voice brought 
to her, in fullest force, the thing that was always 
with her — with her as the cloak that a man hath 
upon him, and as the girdle that he is always 
girded withal. 

When the children saw her, they ran to her, 
seizing her hands and dragging her towards 
Harry. A little way off stood Marjory Valen- 
tine, with a nervous smile on her lips. Harry 
himself stood waiting, and Mrs Dennison walked 
up to him and kissed hirn. Not till that was 
done did she speak or look him in the face. 
He returned her kiss, and then, talking rapidly, 
she made him sit down, and sat herself, and took 
her little boy on her knee. And she called 
Marjory, telling her jokingly that she was one of 
the family. 

Harry began to talk of his journey, and they 
all joined in. Then he grew silent, and the 
children chattered more about the delights of 
Dieppe, and how all would be perfect now that 
father was come. And, under cover of their 
chatter, Maggie Dennison stole a long covert 
glance at her husband. 

' And Tom's here, father,' cried the little boy 
on her lap exultingly. 

' Yes,' chimed in Madge, ' and Mr Ruston's 


There was a momentary pause ; then Mrs 
Dennison, in her calmest voice, began to tell 
her husband of the sickness of the Baron. And 
over Harry Dennison's face there rested a new 
look, and she felt it on her as she talked of the 
Baron. She had seen him before unsatisfied, 
puzzled, and bewildered by her, but never before 
with this look on his face. It seemed to her 
half entreaty and half suspicion. It was plain 
for everyone to see. He kept his eyes on her, 
and she knew that Marjory must be reading 
him as she read him. And under that look she 
went on talking about the Baron. The look did 
not frighten her. She did not fear his sus- 
picions, for she believed that he would still take 
her word against all the world — ay, against the 
plainest proof. But she almost broke under the 
burden of it ; it made her heart sick with pity 
for him. She longed to cry out, then and there, 
' It isn't true, Harry, my poor dear, it isn't true.' 
She could tell him that — it would not be all a lie. 
And when the children went away to prepare 
for lunch, she did much that very thing ; for, 
with a laughing glance of apology at Marjory, 
she sat on her husband's knee and kissed him 
twice on either cheek, whispering, 

1 I'm so glad you've come, Harry.' 

And he caught her to him with sudden viol- 
ence — unlike his usual manner, and looked into 
her eyes and kissed her. Then they rose, and 
he turned towards the house. 

For a moment Marjory and Mrs Dennison 
were alone together. Mrs Dennison spoke in a 


loud clear voice — a voice her husband must 

'We're shamefully foolish, aren't we, Mar- 

The girl made no answer, but, as she looked 
at Maggie Dennison, she burst into a sudden 
convulsive sob. 

' Hush, hush,' whispered Maggie eagerly, 
' My God ! if I can, you can ! ' 

So they went in and joined the children at 
their merry noisy meal. 



WILLIE RUSTON slept, on the night 
following his return to London, in the 
Carlins' house at Hampstead. The 
all-important question of the railway made 
a consultation necessary, and Ruston's indis- 
position to face his solitary rooms caused him 
to accept gladly the proffered hospitality. 
The little cramped place was always a refuge 
and a rest ; there he could best rejoice over 
a victory or forget a temporary defeat. There 
he fled now, in the turmoil of his mind. The 
question of the railway had hurried him from 
Dieppe, but it could not carry away from 
him the memories of Dieppe. Yet that was 
the office he had already begun to ask of it 
— of it and of the quiet busy life at Hamp- 
stead, where he lingered till a week stretched 
to two and to three, spending his days at 
work in the city, and his evenings, after his 
romp with the children, in earnest and eager 
talk and speculation. He regretted bitterly 


his going to Dieppe. He had done what he 
condemned ; he had raised up a perpetual 
reproach and a possible danger. He was not 
a man who could dismiss such a thing with 
a laugh or a sneer, with a pang of penitence 
and a swift reaction to the low levels of 
morality, with a regret for imprudence and a 
prayer against consequences. His nature was 
too deep, and the influence he had met too 
strong, for any of these to be enough. Yet 
he had suffered the question of the railway 
to drag him away at a moment's notice ; 
and he was persuaded that he must take his 
leaving as setting an end to all that had 
passed. All that must be put behind ; forget- 
fulness in thought might be a relief impos- 
sible to attain, a relief that he would be 
ashamed of striving to attain ; but forgetful- 
ness in act seemed a duty to be done. In 
his undeviating reference of everything to his 
own work in life, and his neglect of any 
other touchstone, he erected into an obli- 
gation what to another would have been a 
shameless matter of course ; or, again, to yet 
another, a source of shamefaced relief. His 
sins were sin first against himself, in the second 
degree only against the participant in them ; 
his preoccupation with their first quality went 
far to blind him to the second. 

Yet he was very sorry for Maggie Dennison. 
Nay, those words were ludicrously feeble for 
the meaning he wanted from them. Acutely 
conscious of having done her a wrong, he was 


vaguely aware that he might underestimate the 
wrong, and remembered uneasily how she had 
told him that he did not understand, and de- 
spaired because he could not understand. He 
felt more for her now — much more, it seemed 
to him ; but the consciousness of failure to put 
himself where she stood dogged him, making 
him afraid sometimes that he could not realise 
her sufferings, sometimes that he was imput- 
ing to her fictitious tortures and a sense of 
ignominy which was not her own. Searching 
light, he began to talk to Carlin, in general 
terms, of course, and by way of chance 
discourse ; and he ran up against a curious 
stratum of Puritanism imbedded amongst the 
man's elastic principles. The narrowest and 
harshest judgment of an erring woman ac- 
companied the supple trader and witnessed 
the surviving barbarian in Mr Carlin ; an acci- 
dental distant allusion displayed an equally 
relentless attitude in his meek hard-working 
little wife. Willie Ruston drew in his feelers, 
and, aghast at the evil these opinions stamped 
as the product of his acts, declared for a 
moment that his life must be the only and 
insufficient atonement. The moment was a 
brief one. He dismissed the opinions with 
a curse, their authors with a smile, and did 
not scorn to take for comfort even Maggie 
Dennison's own enthusiasm for his work. 
That had drawn them together; that must 
rule and limit the connection which it had 
created. An end — a bound — a peremptory 


stop (there was still time to stop) was the 
thing. She would see that, as he saw it. 
God knew (he said to himself) what a wrench 
it was — for she meant more to him than he 
had ever conceived a woman could mean ; but 
the wrench must be undergone. He would 
rather die than wreck his work ; and she, he 
knew, rather die than prove a wrecking siren 
to him. 

Suddenly, across the desponding stubborn- 
ness of his resolves, flashed, with a bright 
white light, the news of the Baron's legacy, 
accompanying, but, after a hasty regretful 
thought and a kindly regretful smile, obliter- 
ating the fact of the Baron's death. Half the 
steps upward, he felt, which he had set him- 
self painfully and with impatient labour to cut, 
were hewn deep and smooth for his feet; he 
had now but to tread, and lift his foot and 
tread again. From a paid servant of his Com- 
pany, powerful only by a secret influence un- 
based on any substantial foundation, he leapt 
to the position of a shareholder with a larger 
stake than any man besides ; no intrigue could 
shake him now, no sudden gust of petulant im- 
patience at the tardiness of results displace him. 
He had never thought of this motive behind 
the Baron's large purchases of Omofaga shares ; 
as he thought of it, he had not been himself 
had he not smiled. And his smile was of the 
same quality as had burst on his face when 
first Maggie Dennison dropped the veil and 
owned his sway. 


One day he did not go down to the city, 
but spent his time wandering on the heath, 
mapping out what he would do in the fast- 
approaching days in Omofaga. The prospects 
were clearing; he had had two interviews with 
Lord Detchmore, and the Minister had fallen 
back from his own objections on to the 
scruples of his colleagues. It was a promis- 
ing sign, and Willie was pressing his advan- 
tage. The fall in the shares had been checked ; 
Tom Loring wrote no more ; and Mrs Carlin 
had forgotten to mourn the extinct coal busi- 
ness. He came home, with a buoyant step, at 
four o'clock, to find Carlin awaiting him with 
dismayed face. There was the worst of news 
from Queen Street. Mr Dennison had written 
announcing resignation of his place on the 

1 It's a staggering blow,' said Carlin, thrust- 
ing his hands into his pockets. ' Can't you 
bring him round ? Why is he doing it ? ' 

• Well, what does he say ? ' asked Ruston, a 
frown on his brow. 

' Oh, some nonsense — pressure of other busi- 
ness or something of that kind. Can't you go 
and see him, Willie? He's back in town. He 
writes from Curzon Street.' 

' I don't know why he does it/ said Ruston 
slowly. ' I knew he'd been selling out.' 

' He hasn't made money at that.' 

' No. I've made the profit there,' said 
Ruston, with a sudden smile. 

4 The Baron bought 'cm, ch ? ' laughed Carlin. 


' You generally come out right side up, Willie. 
You'll go and see him, though, won't you ? ' 

Yes. He would go. That was the resolu- 
tion which in a moment he reached. If there 
were danger, he must face it ; if there were 
calamity, he must know it. He would go and 
see Harry Dennison. 

As he was, on the stroke of half-past four, 
he jumped into a hansom - cab, and bade the 
man drive to Curzon Street. 

Harry was not at home — nor Mrs Denni- 
son, added the servant. But both were ex- 
pected soon. 

' I'll wait,' said Willie, and he was shown 
up into the drawing-room. 

As the servant opened the door, he said in 
his low respectful tones, 

' Mrs Cormack is here, sir, waiting for Mrs 

A moment later Willie Ruston was over- 
whelmed in a shrilly enthusiastic greeting. 
Mrs Cormack had been in despair from ennui ; 
Maggie's delay was endless, and Mr Ruston 
was in verity a godsend. Indeed there was 
every appearance of sincerity in the lady's wel- 
come. She stood and looked at him with an 
expression of most wicked and mischievous 
pleasure. The remorse detected by Tom Lor- 
ing was not visible now ; pure delight reigned 
supreme, and gave free scope to her frivolous 

' Enfin ! ' she said. ' Behold the villain 
of the piece ! ' 


He opened his eyes in questioning. 

1 Oh, you think to deceive me too ? Why, 
I have prophesied it.' 

1 You are/ said Willie, standing on the hearth- 
rug, and gazing at her nervous restless figure, 
so rich in half-expressed hints too subtle for 
language, ' the most outrageous of women, Mrs 
Cormack. Fortunately you have a fling at 
everybody, and the saints come off as badly 
as the sinners.' 

A shrug asserted her opinion of his pre- 
tences. He answered, 

' I really am so unfortunate as not to have 
the least idea what you're driving at.' 

An inarticulate scornful little sound greeted 
this protest. 

' Oh, well, I shall wait till you say something, 
remarked Willie, with a laugh. ' I can't deny 
villainies wholesale, and I can't argue against 
Gallic ejaculations.' 

' You still come here ? ' she asked, ignoring 
his rudeness, and coming to close quarters with 
native audacity. 

He looked at her for a moment, and then 
walked up to her chair, and stood over her. 
She leant back, gazing up at him with a 

' Look here ! Don't talk nonsense,' he said 
brusquely ; ' even such talk as yours may do 
harm with fools.' 

1 Fools ! ' she echoed. ' You mean — ? ' 

1 More than half the world,' he interrupted. 

' Including — ? ' she began again in mockery. 


' Some of our acquaintance,' he answered, with 
the glimmer of a smile. 

' Ah, I thought you were angry ! ' she cried, 
pointing at the smile on his lips. 

' I shall be, if you don't hold your tongue.' 

' You beg me to be silent, Mr Ruston ? ' 

' I desire you not to chatter about me, Mrs 

' Ah, what politeness ! I shall say what I 
please,' and she rose and stood facing him 

'I wish,' he said, 'that I could tell you 
what they do to gossiping women in Omofaga. 
It is so very disagreeable — and appropriate.' 

' Oh, I don't mind hearing.' 

' I can believe it, but I mind saying.' 

She flushed, and her breath came more 

' No doubt you will enforce the treatment 
— in your own interest,' she said. 

' You won't be there,' replied he, with affected 

' Well, here I shall say what I please.' 

' And who will listen ? ' 

' One man, at least.' she cried, in incautious 
anger. ' Ah, you'd like to beat me, wouldn't 
you ? ' 

'Why suggest the impossible?' he asked, 
smiling. ' I can't beat every — ' He paused, 
and added with deliberateness, ' every vul- 
gar-minded woman in London ; ' and turn- 
ing his back on her, he sat down and took 
up a newspaper that lay on the table. 


For full five or six minutes Mrs Cormack 
sat silent. Willie Ruston glanced through 
the leading article, and turned the paper, 
folding it neatly. There was a letter from 
a correspondent on the subject of the water- 
sheds of Central South Africa, and he was 
reading it with attention. He thought that 
he recognised Tom Loring's hand. The water- 
sheds of Omofaga were not given their due. 
Ah, and here was that old falsehood about 
arid wastes round Fort Imperial ! 

1 By Jove, it's too bad ! ' he exclaimed aloud. 

Mrs Cormack, who had for the last few 
moments been watching him first with a frown, 
then with a half-incredulous, half-amazed smile 
burst out into laughter. 

' Really, one might as well be offended with 
a grizzly bear ! ' she cried. 

He put down the paper, and met her gaze. 

' How in the world,' she went on, ' does she — 
there, I beg your pardon. How does anyone 
endure you, Mr Ruston ? ' 

As she spoke, before he could answer, the 
door opened, and Harry Dennison came in. 
He entered with a hesitating step. After 
greeting Mrs Cormack, he advanced towards 
Ruston. The latter held out his hand, and 
Harry took it. He did not look Ruston in 
the eyes. 

' How are you ? ' said he. ' You want to 
see me ? ' 

' Well, for a moment, if you can spare the 
time — on business.' 


' Is it about my letter to Carlin?' 

Ruston nodded. Mrs Cormack kept a close 

1 I — I can't alter that/ said Harry, in a con- 
fused way. ' Sir George is so crippled now, 
so much of the work falls on me ; I have really 
no time.' 

' You might have left us your name.' 

' I couldn't do that, could I ? Suppose you 
came to grief?' and he laughed uncomfortably. 

Willie Ruston was afflicted by a sense of weak- 
ness — a vulnerability new in his experience — 
forbidding him to be urgent with the rene- 
gade. Had Carlin been present, he would have 
stood astounded at his chief's tongue-tiedness. 
Mrs Cormack smiled at it, and her smile, 
caught in a swift glance by Ruston, spurred 
him to a voluble appeal, that sounded to 
himself hollow and ineffective. It had no 
effect on Harry Dennison, who said little, 
but shook his head with unfailing resolution. 
Mrs Cormack could not resist the temptation 
to offer matters an opportunity of develop- 

' But what does Maggie say to your deser- 
tion ? ' she asked in an innocently playful way. 

Harry seemed nonplussed at the question, 
and Willie Ruston interposed, 

1 We needn't bring Mrs Dennison into it.' 
he said, smiling. ' It's a matter of business, 
and if Dennison has made up his mind — ' 

He ended with a shrug, and took up his 


' I — I think so, Ruston,' stumbled Harry, 

'Where is Maggie?' asked Mrs Cormack 
curiously. ' They told me she would be in 

' I don't know,' said Harry. ' She went out 
driving. She's sometimes late in coming 

Ruston was shaking hands with Mrs Cor- 
mack, and, when ue walked out, Harry followed 
him. The two men went downstairs in silence. 
Harry opened the front door. Willie Ruston 
held out his hand, but Harry did not this 
time take it. Holding the door-knob, he 
looked at his visitor with a puzzled entreaty 
in his eyes, and his visitor suddenly felt sorry 
for him. 

' I hope Mrs Dennison is well ? ' said Ruston, 
after a pause. 

1 No,' answered Harry, with rough abrupt- 
ness. ■ She's not well. I knew how it would 
be ; I told you. You would go.' 

'My dear fellow—' 

' You would talk to her about your miserable 
Company — our Company, if you like. I knew 
it would do her harm. I told you so.' 

He was pouring out his incoherent charges 
and repetitions in a fretful petulance. 

' The doctor says her nerves are all wrong ; 
she must be left alone. I see it. She's not 

' Then that,' said Ruston, ' is the real reason 
why you're severing yourself from us?' 

' I don't want her to hear anything mere 


about it ; she got absorbed in it. I told you 
she would, but you wouldn't listen. Tom 
Loring thought just the same. But you 
would go.' 

' Is she ill ? ' 

1 Oh, I don't know that she's ill. She's — she's 
not herself. She's strange.' 

The note of distress in his voice grew more 
acute as he went on. 

'I'm very sorry,' said Willie, baldly. 'Give 
her my best — ' 

' If you want to see me again about it, 
I — you'll always know where to find me in 
the City, won't you ? ' He shuffled his feet 
nervously, and twisted the door-knob as he 

' You mean,' asked Ruston, slowly, ' that 
I'd better not come here?' 

' Well, yes — just now,' mumbled Harry ; and 
he added apologetically, ' She's seeing very 
few people just now, you know.' 

'As you please, of course,' said Ruston, 
shortly. ' I daresay you're right. I should 
like to say, Dennison, that I did not intend — ' 
He suddenly stopped short. There was no 
need to rush unbidden into more falseness. 
' Good-bye,' he said. 

Harry took the offered hand in a limp 
grasp, but his eyes did not leave the ground. 
A moment later the door closed, and Ruston 
was alone outside — knowing that he had been 
turned out — in however ineffective blundering 
manner, yet, in fact, turned out — and by Harry 


Dennison. That Harry knew nothing, he 
hardly felt as a comfort ; that perhaps he 
suspected hardly as a danger. He was angry 
and humiliated that such a thing should 
happen, and that he should be powerless to 
prevent, and without title to resent, the 

Looking up he caught sight dimly in the 
dim light of a lithe figure and a mocking 
face. Mrs Cormack had regained her own 
house by means of the little gate, and stood 
leaning over the balcony smiling at him like 
some disguised fiend in a ballet or opera- 
bouffe. Fie heard a tinkling laugh. Had 
she listened ? She was capable of it, and 
if she had, it might well be that she had 
caught a word or two. But perhaps his air 
and attitude were enough to tell the tale. 
She craned her neck over the parapet, and 
called to him, 

' I hope we shall see you soon again. Of 
course, you'll be coming to see Maggie 
soon ? ' 

' Oh, soon, I hope,' he answered sturdily, 
and the low tinkle of laughter rang out again 
in answer. 

Without more, he turned on his heel and 
walked down the street, a morose frown on 
his brow. 

He had been gone some half-hour when, 
just before eight o'clock, Mrs Dennison's 
victoria drove quickly up to the door. The 
evening was chilly and she was wearing her 


furs. Her face rose pale and rigid above 
them ; and as she walked to the house, her 
steps dragged as though in weariness. She 
did not go upstairs, but knocked, almost 
timidly, at the door of her husband's study. 
Entering in obedience to his call, she found 
him sitting in his deep leathern arm-chair by 
the fire. She leant her arm on the back 
and stared over his head into the fire. 

' Anyone been, Harry ? ' she asked. 

He lifted his eyes with a start. 

'Is it you, Maggie?' he cried, leaping up 
and seizing her hand. 'Why, how cold you 
are, dear ! Come and sit by the fire.' 

She did as he bade her. 

' Any visitors ? ' she asked again. 

' Ruston,' he answered, turning and poking 
the fire as he did so. ' He came to see me 
about the Company, you know.' 

' Is he long gone?' 

' Yes, some time.' 

' He was angry, was he ? ' 

'Yes, Maggie. But I stuck to it. I won't 
have anything more to do with the thing.' 

His petulance betrayed itself again in his 
voice. She said nothing, and, after a mo- 
ment, he asked anxiously, 

' Do you mind much ? You know the 
doctor — ' 

'Oh, the doctor! No, Harry, I don't mind. 
Do as you like. He can get on without 

' If you really mind, I'll try — ' 


' No, no, no,' she burst out. ' You're quite 
right. Of course you're right. I don't want 
you to go on. I'm tired of it too.' 

'Are you?' he asked, with a face suddenly 
brightening. 'Are you really? Then I'm 
glad I told Ruston not to come bothering 
about it here.' 

Had he been listening, he could have heard 
the sharp indrawing of her breath. 

' What do you mean ? ' she asked. 

' Why, I told him not to come and see 
you till — till you were stronger.' 

She shot a terrified glance at him. His 
expression was merely anxious and, according 
to its wont when he was in a difficulty, 

' And he won't be here much longer now,' 
he added, comfortingly. 

' No, not much,' she forced herself to mur- 

' Won't you go and dress for dinner ? ' he 
asked, after a moment. ' It's ordered for a 
quarter-past, and it's more than that now.' 

'Is it? I'll come directly. You go, and 
I'll follow you. I sha'n't be long. 

He came near to where she sat. 

' Are you feeling better ? ' he asked. 

' Oh, Harry, Harry, I'm well, perfectly well ! 
You and your doctor ! ' and she broke into 
an impatient laugh. 'You'll persuade me into 
the grave before you've done.' 

He looked at her for a moment, and then, 
shaping his lips to whistle, sounded a few 


dreary notes and stole out of the 

She heard the door close, and, sitting up, 
stretched her arms over her head. Then she 
sighed for relief at his going. It was much 
to be alone. 

' "i 



A MONTH to-day!' said Lady Valen- 
tine, pausing in her writing (she had 
just set ' Octr. ioth' at the head of her 
paper) and gazing sorrowfully across the room 
at Marjory. 

Marjory knew well what she meant. The 
poor woman was counting the days that still 
lay between her and the departure of her son. 

' Now don't, mother,' protested Marjory. 

' Oh, I know I'm silly. I met Mr Ruston 
at the Seminghams' yesterday, and he told 
me that there wasn't the least danger, and 
that it was a glorious chance for Walter — just 
what you said from the first, dear — and that 
Walter could run over and see me in about 
eighteen months' time. Oh, but, Marjory, 1 
know it's dangerous ! ' 

Marjory rose and crossed over to where her 
mother sat. 

' You must be a Spartan matron, dear,' said 
she. " You can't keep Walter in leading strings 
all his life.' 


' No ; but he might have stayed here, and 
got on, and gone into Parliament, and so on.' 
She paused and added, ' Like Evan, you 

Marjory coloured — more from self-reproach 
than embarrassment. She had gone in these 
last weeks terribly near to forgetting poor 
Evan's existence. 

' Evan came in while I was at the Seming- 
hams'. He looked so dull, poor fellow. I — I 
asked him to dinner, Marjory. He hasn't been 
here for a long while. We haven't seen nearly 
as much of him since we knew Mr Ruston. I 
don't think they like one another.' 

' You know why he hasn't come here,' said 
Marjory softly. 

1 He spent a week with me while you were 
at Dieppe. He seemed to like to hear about 

A smile of sad patience appeared on Mar- 
jory's face. 

' Oh, my dear, you are such a bad hinter,' 
she half laughed, half moaned. ' Poor Evan ! 
I'm very sorry for him ; but I can't help it, 
can I?' 

' It would have been so nice.' 

' And you used to be such a mercenary 
creature ! ' 

' Ah, well, my dear, I want to keep one 
of my children with me. But, if it can't be, 
it can't.' 

Marjory bent down and whispered in her 
mother's ear, ' I'm not going to Omofaga, dear.' 


' Well, I used to be half afraid of it,' admitted 
Lady Valentine (she forgot that she had half 
hoped it also) ; ' but you never seem to be 
interested in him now. Do you mind Evan 
coming to dinner ? ' 

' Oh, no,' said Marjory. 

Since her return from Dieppe she had seemed 
to ' mind ' nothing. Relaxation of the strain 
under which her days passed there had left 
her numbed. She was conscious only of a 
passionate shrinking from the sight or company 
of the two people who had there filled her 
life. To meet them again forced her back 
in thought to that dreary mysterious night 
with its unsolved riddle, that she feared seek- 
ing to answer. 

Her mother had called on Maggie Dennison, 
and came back with a flow of kindly lamenta- 
tions over Maggie's white cheeks and listless, 
weary air. Her brother was constantly with 
Ruston, and tried to persuade her to join 
parties of which he was to be one. She 
fenced with both of them, escaping on one 
plea and another; and Maggie's acquiescence 
in her absence, no less than Ruston's failure 
to make a chance of meeting her, strengthened 
her resolve to remain aloof. 

Young Sir Walter also came to dinner that 
night ; he was very gay and chatty, full of 
Omofaga and his fast-approaching expedition. 
He greeted Evan Haseldcn with a manner 
that claimed at least equality ; nay, he lectured 
him a little on the ignorant interference of a 


stay-at-home House of Commons with the 
work of the men on the spot, in South Africa 
and elsewhere; people on this side would 
not give a man a free hand, he complained, 
and exhorted Evan to take no part in such 
ill-advised meddling. 

Hence he was led on to the topic he was 
never now far away from — Willie Ruston — 
and he reproached his mother and sister for 
their want of attention to the hero. 

This was the first gleam of light for poor 
Evan Haselden, for it told him that Willie 
Ruston was not, as he had feared, a successful 
rival. He rejoiced at Lady Valentine's hinted 
dislike of Ruston, and anxiously studied Mar- 
jory's face in hope of detecting a like dis- 
position. But his vanity led him to return 
Walter's lecture, and he added an innuendo 
concerning the unscrupulousness of adventurers 
who cloaked money-making under specious 
pretences. Walter flared up in a moment, 
and the dinner ended in something like a 
dispute between the two young men. 

' Well, Dennison's found him out, anyhow,' 
said Evan bitterly. ' He's cut the whole 

1 We can do without Dennison,' said young 
Sir Walter scornfully. 

When the meal was finished, young Sir 
Walter, treating his friend without ceremony, 
carelessly pleaded an engagement, and went 
out. Lady Valentine, interpreting Evan's 
glances, and hoping against hope, seized the 


chance of leaving him alone with her daughter. 
Marjory watched the manoeuvre without 
thwarting it. Her heart was more dead to 
Evan than it had ever been. Her experiences 
at Dieppe had aged her mind, and she found 
him less capable of stirring any feeling in 
her than even in the days when she had 
half made a hero out of Willie Ruston. 

She waited for his words in resignation ; 
and he, acute enough to mark her moods, 
began as a man begins who rushes on an- 
ticipated defeat. What is unintelligible seems 
most irresistible, and he knew not at what 
point to attack her indifference. He saw the 
change in her; he could have dated its be- 
ginning. The cause he found somehow in 
Ruston, but yet it was clear to him that she 
did not think of Ruston as a suitor — almost 
clear that she heard his name and thought 
of him with repulsion — and that the attraction 
he had once exercised over her was gone. 

The weary talk wore to its close, ending 
with angry petulance on his side, and, at last, 
on hers with a grief that was half anger. He 
could not believe in her decision, unless there 
were one who had displaced him ; and, seeing 
none save Ruston, in spite of his own con- 
victions, he broke at last into a demand to 
be told whether she thought of him. Marjory 
started in horror, crying, ' No, no,' and, for 
all Evan's preoccupation, her vehemence 
amazed him. 

' Oh, you've lound him out too, perhaps,' 


he sneered. ' You've found him out by now. 
All the same it was his fault that you didn't 
care for me before.' 

' Evan,' she implored, ' do, pray, not talk 
like that. There's not a man in the whole 
world that I would not have for my husband 
rather than him.' 

'Now,' he repeated; 'but I'm speaking of 

Half angry again at that he should allow 
himself such an insinuation, she yet liked him 
too well, and felt too unhappy, to be insincere. 

' Well,' she said with a troubled smile, ' if 
you like, I've found him out.' 

1 Then, Marjory,' cried Evan, in a spasm 
of reviving hope, ' if that fellow's out of the 
way — ' 

But she would not hear him, and he flung 
himself out of the house with a rudeness that 
his love pardoned. 

She heard him go, in aching sorrow that 
he, who felt few things deeply, should feel this 
one so deeply. Then, following the calls of 
society, which are followed in spite of most 
troubles, she, pale-faced and sad, and her 
mother, almost weeping in motherly distress, 
dressed themselves to go to a party. Lady 
Semingham was at home that night. 

At the party all was gay and bright. Lady 
Semingham was chattering to Mr Otto Heather, 
Semingham was trying to make Mr Foster Bel- 
ford understand the story of the Baron and Willie 
Ruston, Lord Detchmore, who had come in from 


a public dinner, was conspicuous in his blue 
riband, and was listening to Adela Ferrars with 
a smile on his face. Marjory sat down in a 
corner, hoping to escape introductions, and, when 
an old friend carried her mother off to eat an ice, 
she kept her place. Presently she heard cried, 
4 Mrs Dennison,' and Maggie came in with her 
usual grace. It seemed as though the last few 
months were blotted out, and they were all again 
at that first party at Mrs Dennison's where Willie 
Ruston had made his entree. The illusion was 
not to lack confirmation, for, a moment later, 
Ruston himself was announced, and the sound 
of his name made Adela turn her head for 
one swift ^moment from her distinguished com- 

' Ah ! ' said Lord Detchmore, ' then I must go. 
If I talk to him any more I'm a lost man.' 

' There's Mr Loring in the corner — no, not 
that corner ; that's Marjory Valentine. He will 
take your side.' 

' Why are they all in corners ? ' asked 

' They don't want to be trodden on,' said 
Adela, with a grimace. ' You'd better take one 

1 There's Mrs Dennison in a third corner. 
Shall I take that one, or should I get trodden on 
there ? ' 

Adela looked up swiftly. His remark hinted 
at gossip afloat. 

' Take one for yourself,' she began, with an 
uneasy laugh. But the laugh suddenly became 


genuine for the very absurdity of the thing. 
' We'll go and join Mr Loring, shall we ? ' she 

Lord Detchmore acquiesced, and they walked 
over to where Tom stood. On their way, to 
their consternation, they encountered Willie 

' Now we're in for it,' breathed Detchmore in 
low tones. But Ruston, with a bow, passed on, 
going straight as an arrow towards where Maggie 
Dennison sat. Lord Detchmore raised his eye- 
brows, Adela shut her fan with a click, Tom 
Loring, when they reached him, was frowning. 
Away across the room sat Marjory alone. 

' Good heavens ! he let me alone ! ' exclaimed 
Lord Detchmore. 

' Perhaps I was your shield,' said Adela. 
' He doesn't like me.' 

' Nor you, Loring, I expect ? ' 

Presently Lord Detchmore moved away, leav- 
ing Adela and Tom together. They had been 
together a good deal lately, and their tones 
showed the intimacy of friendship. 

' That man,' said Adela quickly, ' suspects 
something. He's a terrible old gossip, although 
he is a great statesman, of course. Can't you 
prevent them talking there together ? ' 

' No,' said Tom composedly, ' I can't ; she'd 
send me away if I went' 

* Then I shall go. Why isn't Harry here ? ' 

' He wouldn't come. I've been dining with 
him at the club.' 

• He ought to have come.' 


1 I don't believe it would have made any 

Adela looked at him for a moment ; then she 
walked swiftly across the room to Maggie Den- 
nison, and held out her hand. 

1 Maggie, I haven't had a talk with you for ever 
so long. How do you do, Mr Ruston ?' 

Ruston shook hands but did not move. He 
stood silently through two or three moments of 
Adela's forced chatter. Mrs Dennison was sit- 
ting on a small couch, which would just hold 
two people ; but she sat in the middle of it, and 
did not offer to make room for Adela. When 
Adela paused for want of anything to say, there 
was silence. She looked from the one to the 
other. Ruston smiled the smile that always ex- 
asperated her on his face — the smile of posses- 
sion she called it in an attempt at definition. 

' Look at Marjory ! ' said Mrs Dennison. ' How 
solitary she looks ! Poor girl ! Do go and talk 
to her, Adela.' 

' I came to talk to you,' said Adela, in fiery 

' Well, I'll come and talk to you both directly,' 
said Maggie. 

' We're talking business,' added Willie Ruston, 
still smiling. 

' Oh, if you don't want me ! ' cried Adela, and 
she turned away, declaring in her heart that she 
had made the last effort of friendship. 

With her going went Ruston's smile. He 
bent his head, and said in a low voice, 

' You arc the only woman whom I could have 


left like that, and the only one whom I could 
have found it hard to leave. Was it very hard 
for you ? ' 

' It was just the truth for me,' she answered. 

' Of course you were angr)' and hurt. I was 
afraid you would be,' he said. 

She looked at him with a curious smile. 

' But then,' he continued, ' you saw how I was 
placed. Do you think I didn't suffer in going ? 
I've never had such a wrench in my life. Won't 
you forgive me, Maggie ? ' 

' Forgive ! What's the use of talking like that ? 
W r hat's the use of my " forgiving " you for being 
what you are ? ' 

' You talk as if you'd found me out in some- 

She turned to him, saying very low, 

'And haven't you found me out, too? W T e 
are face to face now, Willie.' 

He did not fully understand her. Half in 
justification, half in apology, he said doggedly, 

' I simply had to go.' 

' Yes, you simply had to go. There was the 
railway. Oh, what's the use of talking about 

' I was afraid you meant to have nothing more 
to do with me.' 

' Or you wished it ? ' she asked quickly. 

He started. She had discerned the thoughts 
that came into his mind in his solitarv 

'Don't be afraid. I've wished it,' she 


There was a pause ; then he, not denying her 
charge, whispered, 

' I can't wish it now — not when I'm with you.' 

' To have nothing more to do with you ! Ah, 
Willie, I have nothing to do with anything but 

A swift glance from him told her that her 
appeal touched him. 

' What else is left me ? Can I live as I am 
living? ' 

' What are we to do?' he asked. 'W T e shall 
see one another sometimes now. I can't come 
to your house, you know. But sometimes — ' 

1 At a party — here and there ! And the rest 
of the time I must live at — at home ! Home ! ' 

He bent to her, whispering, 

1 We must arrange — ' 

' No, no/ she replied, passionately. ' Don't 
you see ? ' 

' What ? ' he asked, puzzled. 

' Oh, you don't understand ! It's not that. 
It's not that I can't live without you.' 

' I never said that,' he interposed quickly. 

' And yet I suppose it is that. But it's some- 
thing more. Willie, I can't live with him.' 

' Does he suspect ? ' he asked in an eager 

' I don't know. I really don't know. It's 
worse if he doesn't. Oh, if you knew what I 
feel when he looks at me, and asks — ' 

' Asks what ? ' 

' Nothing — nothing in words ; but, Willie, 
everything, everything. I shall go mad, if I 


stay. And then don't you see — ?' She stopped, 
going on again a moment later. ' I've borne 
it till I could see you. But I can't go on bear- 
ing it.' 

He glanced at her. 

' We can't talk about it here/ he said. 
1 Everybody will see how agitated you are.' 

For answer she schooled her face to rigidity, 
and her hands to motionlessness. 

• You must talk about it — here and now,' 
she said. ' It's the only time I've seen you 
since — Dieppe. What are you going to do, 
Willie ? ' 

He looked round. Then, with a smile, he 
offered his arm. 

' I must take you to have something,' he said. 
1 Come, we must walk through the room.' 

She rose and took his arm. Bowing and 
smiling, she turned to greet her acquaintances. 
She stopped to speak to Lord Detchmore, And 
exchanged a word with her host. 

' Yes. What are you going to do ? ' she 
asked again, aloud. 

They had reached the room where the buffet 
stood. Mrs Dennison, after a few words to 
Lady Valentine, who was still there, sat down 
on a chair a little remote from the crowd. 
Ruston brought her a cup of coffee, and stood 
in front of her, with the half-conscious intention 
of shielding her from notice. She drank the 
coffee hastily ; its heat brought a slight glow 
to her face. 

1 You're going as you planned ? ' she asked. 


He answered in low, dry tones, emptied of 
all emotion. 

' Yes,' said he, ' I'm going.' 

She stretched out her hand towards him 

' Willie, you must take me with you,' she said. 

He looked down with startled face. 

' My God, Maggie ! ' he exclaimed. 

1 1 can't stay here. I can't stay with him.' 

Her lips quivered ; he took her cup from her 
(he feared that she would let it fall), and set it 
on the table. Behind them he heard merry 
voices ; Semingham's was loud among them. 
The voices were coming near them. 

' I must think,' he whispered. ' We can't 
talk now. I must see you again.' 

' Where ? ' she asked helplessly. 

' Carlin's. Come up to-morrow. I can arrange 
it. For heaven's sake, begin to talk about 

She looked up in his face. 

' I could stand here and tell it to the room,' 
she said, ' sooner than live as I live now.' 

He had no time to answer. Semingham's 
arm was on his shoulder. Lord Detchmore 
stood by his side. 

' I want,' said Semingham, ' to introduce Lord 
Detchmore to you, Mrs Dennison. It's not at 
all disinterested of me. You must persuade 
him — you know what about.' 

' No, no,' laughed the Minister, ' I mustn't be 
talked to; it's highly improper, and I distrust my 


' I'll be bound now that you were talking 
about Omofaga this very minute/ pursued 

' Of course we were,' said Ruston. 
' You're a great enthusiast, Mrs Dennison,' 
smiled Detchmore. ' You ought to go out, 
you know. Can't you persuade your husband 
to lend you to the expedition ? ' 

Ruston could have killed the man for his 
mal-apropos jesting. Maggie Dennison seemed 
unable to answer it. Semingham broke in 

' It would be a fine chance for proving the 
quality — and the equality — of women,' said he. 
' I always told Mrs Dennison that she ought to 
be Queen of Omofaga.' 

' And I hope,' said Detchmore, with a 
significant smile, ' that there'll soon be a rail- 
way to take you there.' 

Even at that moment, the light of triumph 
came suddenly gleaming into Ruston's eyes. 
He looked at Detchmore, who laughed and 

' I think so. I think I shall be able to 
manage it,' he said. 

'That's an end to all our troubles,' said 
Semingham. ' Come, we'll drink to it' 

He signed to a waiter, who brought champagne. 
Lord Detchmore gallantly pressed a glass on 
Mrs Dennison. She shook her head, but took it. 
1 Long life to Omofaga, and death to its 
enemies ! ' cried Semingham in burlesque 
heroics, and, with a laugh — that was, as his 

. "V < 


laughs so often were, as much at himself as at 
the rest of the world — he made a mock 
obeisance to Willie Ruston, adding, ' Moriamur 
pro rege nostro ! ' and draining the glass. 

Maggie Dennison's eyes sparkled. Behind 
the mockery in Semingham's jest, behind the 
only half make-believe homage which Detch- 
more's humorous glance at Ruston showed, 
she saw the reality of deference, the acknow- 
ledgment of power in the man she loved. For 
a brief moment she tasted the troubled joy 
which she had paid so high to win. For a 
moment her eyes rested on Willie Ruston as a 
woman's eyes rest on a man who is the world's 
as well as hers, but also hers as he is not the 
world's. She sipped the champagne, echoing 
in her low rich voice, so that the men but just 
caught the words, ' Moriamur pro rege nostro,' 
and gave the glass into Ruston's hand. 

A sudden seriousness fell upon them. Detch- 
more glanced at Semingham, and thence, 
curiously, at Willie Ruston, whose face was 
pale and marked with a deep-lined frown. Mrs 
Dennison had sunk back in her chair, and her 
heart rose and fell in agitated breathings. Then 
Willie Ruston spoke in cool deliberate tones, 

' The King there was a Queen,' he said. 
' You've drunk to the wrong person, Semingham. 
I'll drink it right,' and, bowing to Maggie 
Dennison, he drained his glass. Looking up, he 
found Detchmore's eyes on him in overpowering 

* If I tell you a story, Lord Detchmore,' said 


he, 'you'll understand,' and, yielding his place 
by Maggie Dennison, he took Detchmore with 
him, and they walked away in talk. 

It was an hour later when Lord Detchmore 
took leave of his host. 

'Well, did you hear the story?' asked 

'Yes; I heard it,' said Detchmore, 'about 
the telegram, wasn't it ? ' 

' Yes, and of course, you see, it explains the 

' That sounds like a question, Semingham.' 

' Oh, no. The note of interrogation was — a 
printer's error.' 

' It's a remarkable story' 

' It really is,' said Semingham. 

' And — is it the whole story ? ' 

' Well, isn't it enough to justify the toast ? ' 

< It — and she — are enough/ said Detchmore. 
' But, Semingham — ' 

Lord Semingham, however, took him by the 
arm, walked him into the hall, got his hat and 
coat for him, helped him on with them, and 
wished him good-night. Detchmore sub- 
mitted without resistance. Just at the last, 
however, as he fitted his hat on his head, he said, 

' You're unusually explicit, Semingham. He 
goes to Omolaga soon, don't he ? ' 
' 'Yes, thank God,' said Semingham, almost 



'■\70U can manage it for me?' asked Willie 

X Ruston. 

' I suppose I can/ answered Carlin ; 
' but it's rather queer, isn't it, Willie ? ' 

' I don't know whether it's queer or not ; but 
I must talk to her for half-an-hour.' 

1 Why not at Curzon Street ? ' 

Ruston laughed a short little laugh. 

' Do you really want the reason stated ? ' he 

Carlin shook his head gloomily, but he at- 
tempted no remonstrance. He confined himself 
to saying, 

' I hope the deuce you're not getting yourself 
into a mess !' 

1 She'll be here about five. You must be 
here, you know, and you must leave me with 
her. Look here, Carlin, I only want a word 
with her.' 

1 But my wife — ' 

'Send your wife somewhere —to the theatre 



with the children, or somewhere. Mind you're 
here to receive her.' 

He issued his orders and walked away. He 
hated making arrangements of this sort, but 
there was (he told himself) no help for it. 
Anything was better than talking to Maggie 
Dennison before the world in a drawing-room. 
And it was for the last time. Removed from 
her presence, he felt clear about that. The 
knot must be cut ; the thing must be finished. 
His approaching departure made a natural and 
inevitable end to it ; and her mad suggestion 
of coming with him showed in its real enormity 
as he mused on it in his solitary thoughts. 
For a moment she had carried him away. The 
picture of her pale eloquent face, and the 
gleam of her eager eyes had almost led him 
to self- betrayal ; the idea of her in such a 
mood beside him in his work and his triumphs 
had seemed for the moment irresistible. She 
could double his strength and make joy of 
his toil. But it could not be so ; and for it 
to be so, if it could be, he must stand revealed 
as a traitor to his friend, and be banned for 
an outlaw by his acquaintance. He had been 
a traitor, of course ; but he need not persist. 
They — she and he — must not stereotype a 
passing madness, nor refuse the rescue chance 
had given them. There was time to draw- 
back, to set matters right again — at least, to 
trammel up the consequence of wrong. 

When she came, and Carlin, frowning per- 
plexedly, had, with awkward excuses, taken 


himself away, he said all this to her in stum- 
bling speech. From the exaltation of the even- 
ing before they fell pitiably. They had soared 
then in vaulting imagination over the bristling 
barriers ; to - day they could rise to no such 
height. Reality pressed hard upon them, crush- 
ing their romance into crime, their passion to 
the vulgarity of an everyday intrigue. This 
secret backstairs meeting seemed to stamp all 
that passed at it with its own degrading sign ; 
their high -wrought defiance of the world and 
the right dwindled before their eyes to a mean 
and sly evasiveness. So felt Willie Ruston ; and 
Maggie Dennison sat silent while he painted 
for her what he felt. She did not interrupt 
him ; now and again a shiver or a quick motion 
showed that she heard him. At last he had 
said his say, and stood, leaning against the 
mantelpiece, looking down on her. Then, with- 
out glancing up, she asked, 

' And what's to become of me, Willie ? ' 

The sudden simple question revealed him 
to himself. Put in plain English, his rigmarole 
meant, ' Go your way and I'll go mine.' What 
he had said might be right — might be best — 
might be duty — might be religion — might be 
anything you would. But a man may forfeit 
the right to do right. 

' Of you ? ' he stammered. 

' I can't live as I am,' she said. 

He began to pace up and down the room. 
She sat almost listlessly in her chair. There 
was an air of helplessness about her. But she 


was slowly thinking over what he had said, and 
realising its purport. 

' You mean we're never to meet again ? ' she 

' Not that ! ' he cried, with a sudden heat 
that amazed himself. ' Not that, Maggie. Why 
that ? ' 

'Why that?' she repeated in wondering tones. 
' What else do you mean ? You don't mean we 
should go on like this ? ' 

He did not dare to answer either way. The 
one was now impossible — had swiftly, as he 
looked at her, come to seem impossible ; the 
other was to treat her as not even he could 
treat her. She was not of the stuff to live a 
life like that. 

There was silence while he waged with him- 
self that strange preposterous struggle, where 
evil seemed good, and good a treachery not to 
be committed ; wherein his brain seemed to 
invite to meanness, and his passion, for once, 
to point the better way. 

' I wish to God we had never — ' he began ; 
but her despairing eyes stifled the feeble useless 
sentence on his lips 

At last he came near to her ; the lines were 
deep on his forehead, and his mouth quivered 
under a forced smile. He laid his hand on 
her shoulder. She looked up questioningly. 

' You know what you're asking ? ' he said. 

She nodded her head. 

' Then so be it,' said he ; and he went again 
and leant against the mantelpiece. 


He felt that he had paid a debt with his 
life, but knew not whether the payment were 
too high. 

It seemed to him long before she spoke — 
long enough for him to repeat again to him- 
self what he had done — how that he, of all 
men, had made a burden that would break 
his shoulders, and had fettered his limbs for 
all his life's race — yet to be glad, too, that he 
had not shrunk from carrying what he had 
made, and had escaped coupling the craven 
with his other part. 

I What do you mean ? ' she asked at last ; 
and there was surprise in her tone. 

' It shall be as you wish/ he answered. ' We'll 
go through with it together.' 

Though he was giving what she asked, she 
seemed hardly to understand. 

I I can't let you go,' he said ; ' and I suppose 
you can't let me go.' 

' But— but what'll happen ? ' 

' God knows,' said he. ' We shall be a long 
way off, anyhow.' 

'In Omofaga, Willie?' 

' Yes.' 

After a pause she rose and moved a step 
towards him. 

1 Why are you doing it ? ' she asked, searching 
his eyes with hers. ' Is it just because I ask ? 
Because you're sorry for me ? ' 

She was standing near him, and he looked 
on her face. Then he sprang forward, catching 
her hands. 


1 It's because you're more to me than I ever 
thought any woman could be.' 

She let her hands lie in his. 

' But you came here,' she said, ' meaning to 
send me away.' 

• I was a fool,' he said, grimly, between his 

She drew her hands away, and then whis- 

' And, Willie— Harry ? ' 

Again he had nothing to answer. She stood 
looking at him with a wistful longing for a 
word of comfort. He gave none. She passed 
her hand across her eyes, and burst into sudden 

1 How miserable I am ! ' she sobbed. ' I wish 
I was dead ! ' 

He made as though to take her hand again, 
but she shrank, and he fell back. With one 
hand over her eyes, she felt her way back to 
her chair. 

For five minutes or more she sat crying. 
Ruston did not move. He had nothing where- 
with to console her, and he dared not touch 
her. Then she looked up. 

• If I were dead ? ' she said. 

' Hush ! hush ! You'd break my heart,' he 
answered in low tones. 

In the midst of her weeping, for an instant 
she smiled. 

' Ah, Willie, Willie ! ' she said ; and he knew 
that she read him through and through, so that 
he was ashamed to protest again. 


She did not believe in that fiom him. 

Presently her sobs ceased, and she crushed 
her handkerchief into a ball in her hand. 

1 Well, Maggie ? ' said he in hard even 

She rose again to her feet and came to 

* Kiss me, Willie,' she said ; * I'm going back 

He took her in his arms and kissed her. 
She released herself, and gazed long in his 

' Why ? ' he asked. ' You can't bear it ; 
you know you can't. Come with me, Maggie. 
I don't understand you.' 

' No ; I don't understand myself. I came 
here meaning to go with you. I came here 
thinking I could never bear to go back. 
Ah, you don't know what it is to live there 
now. But I must go back. Ah, how I 
hate it ! ' 

She laid her hand on his arm. 

' Think — if I came with you ! Think, 

' Yes,' he said, as though it had been 
wrung from him, ' I know. But come all 
the same, Maggie,' and with a sudden gust 
of passion he began to beseech her, declar- 
ing that he would not live without her. 

'No, no,' she cried; 'it's not true, Willie, 
or you're not the man I loved. Go on, 
dear; go on. I shall hear about you. I 
shall watch you.' 


' But you'll be here — with him,' he mut- 
tered in grim anger. 

'Ah, Willie, are you still — still jealous? 
Even now?' 

A silence fell between them. 

'You shall come,' he said at last 'What 
do I care for him or the rest of them ? 
I care for nothing but you.' 

* I will not come, Willie. I dare not 
come. Willie, in a week — in a day — Willie, 
my dear, in an hour you will be glad that 
I would not come.' 

As she spoke, her voice grew louder. 
The words sounded like a sentence on 

' Is that why ? ' he asked, regarding her 
with moody eyes. 

She hesitated before she answered, in be- 
wildered despair. 

'Yes. I don't know. In part it is. And 
I daren't think of Harry. Let me think, 
Willie, that it's a little bit because of Harry 
and the children. I know I can't expect 
you to believe it, but it is a little, though 
it's more because of you.' 

'Of me? — for my sake, do you mean?' 

' No ; not altogether for your sake ; be- 
cause of you.' 

'And, Maggie, if he suspects?' 

' He won't suspect,' she said. ' He would 
take my word against the world.' 

' They suspect — some of them — that woman 
Mrs Cormack. And — does Marjory?' 


• It is nothing. He won't believe. Mar- 
jory will not say a word.' 

' You'll persuade him that there was no- 
thing— ?' 

' Yes ; I'll persuade him,' she answered. 

She began to pull a glove on to her hand. 

' I must go,' she said. ' It's nearly an hour 
since I came.' 

He took a step towards her. 

'You won't come, Maggie?' he urged, 
and there was still eagerness in his voice. 

4 Not again, Willie. I can't stand it again. 
Good-bye. I've given you everything, Willie. 
And you'll think of me now and then ? ' 

He was unmanned. He could not answer 
her, but turned towards the wall and covered 
his face with his hand. 

' I sha'n't think of you like that,' she said, 
a note of wondering reproach in her voice. 
• I shall think of you conquering. I like 
the hard look that they blame you for. 
Well, you'll have it soon again, Willie.' 

She moved towards the door. He did 
not turn. She waited an instant looking 
at him. A smile was on her lips, and a 
tear trickled down her cheek. 

* It's like shutting the door on life, Willie,' 
she said. 

He sprang forward, but she raised her 
hand to stay him. 

1 No. It is — settled,' said she ; and she 
opened the door of the room and walked 
out into the little entrance-hall. 


It was a wet evening, and the rain pat- 
tered on the roof of the projecting porch. 
They stood there a moment, till her cab- 
man, who had taken refuge in the lee of 
the garden wall, brought his vehicle up to 
the door. They heard a step creak behind 
them in the hall, and then recede. Carlin 
was treading on tip-toe away. 

Maggie Dennison put out her hand and met 
Ruston's. She pressed his hand with strength 
more than her own, and she said, very low, 

' I am dying now — this way — for my king, 
Willie,' and she stepped out into the rain, 
and climbed into the cab. 

4 Back to where you brought me from,' 
she called to the man, and, leaning forward, 
where the cab lamps caught her face, so 
that it gleamed like the face of some marble 
statue, she looked on Willie Ruston. Her 
lips moved, but he heard no word. The 
wheels turned and the lamps flashed, and 
she was carried away. 

Willie started forward a step or two, then 
ran to the gate and, leaning on it, watched 
the red lights as they fled away; and long 
after they were gone, he stood there, bare- 
headed, in the drenching rain. He did not 
think ; he still saw her, still heard her voice, 
and watched her broad low brow. She still 
stood before him, not the fairest of women, 
but the woman who was for him. And the 
rumble of retreating wheels sounded again in 
his ears. She was gone. 


How long he stood he did not know. 
Presently he felt an arm passed through his, 
and he was led back to the house. 

Old Carlin took him through the hall into 
his own little study, where a bright fire 
blazed, and gave him brandy, which he 
drank, and helped him off with his wet 
coat, and put a cricketing jacket on him, 
and pushed him into an arm - chair, and 
hunted for a pair of slippers for him. 

All this while neither spoke ; and at last 
Carlin, his tasks done, stood and warmed 
himself at the fire, looking steadily in front 
of him, and never at his friend. 

'You dear old fool,' said Willie Ruston. 

' Ah, well, well, you mustn't take cold. If 
you were laid up now, what the deuce would 
become of Omofaga?' 

His small, sharp, shrewd eyes blinked as 
he spoke, and he glanced at Willie Ruston 
as he named Omofaga. 

Willie sprang to his feet with an oath. 

' My God ! ' he cried, ' why do you do this 
for me? Who'll do anything for her?' 

Carlin blinked again, keeping his gaze 
aloof. Then he held out his hand, and 
Willie seized it, saying, 

' I'm — I'm precious hard hit, old man.' 

The other nodded and, as Willie sank 
back in his chair, stole quietly out of the 
room, shutting the door close behind him. 

Willie Ruston drew his chair nearer the 
fire, and spread out his hands to the blaze. 


And as the heat warmed his frame, the 
stupor of his mind passed, and he saw some 
of what was true — a glimpse of his naked 
self thrown up against the light of the love 
that others found for him. And he turned 
away his eyes, for it seemed to him that 
he could not look long and endure to live. 
And he groaned that he had won love 
and made for himself so mighty an accuser 
of debts that it lay not in him to 
pay. For even then, while he cursed him- 
self, and cursed the nature that would not 
be changed in him ; even while the words 
of his love were in his ears, and her pre- 
sence near with him ; even while life seemed 
naught for the emptiness her going made, 
and himself nothing but longing for her ; 
even then, behind regret, behind remorse, 
behind agony, behind self-contempt and self- 
disgust, lay hidden, and deeper hidden as he 
thrust it down, the knowledge that he was 
glad — glad that his life was his own again, 
to lead and make and shape ; wherein to 
take and hold, to play and win, to fasten 
on what was his, and to beat down his 
enemies before his face. That no man 
could rob him of, and the woman who 
could would not. So, as Maggie Dennison 
had said, in the passing of an hour he was 
glad ; and in the passing of a week he 
had learnt to look in the face of the glad- 
ness which he had and loathed. 



ABOUT a week later, Tom Loring sat at 
work in his rooms. The table was strewn 
with books of blue and of less alarming 
colours. Tom was smoking a short pipe, and 
when he paused for a fresh idea, the smoke 
welled out of his mouth, ay, and out of his 
nose, thick and fast. For a while he wrote 
busily ; then a dash of his pen proclaimed a 
finished task, and he lay back in the luxury of 
accomplishment. Presently he pushed back 
his chair, knocked out his pipe, refilled it, and 
stretched himself on the sofa. After the day's 
work came the day's dream ; and the day's 
dream dwelt on the coming of the evening 
hour, when Tom was to take tea with Adela 
Ferrars at half-past five. When he had an 
appointment like that, it coloured his whole 
day, and made his hard labour pass lightly. 
Also it helped him to forget what there was 
in his own life and his friends' to trouble him ; 
and he nursed with quiet patience a love that 



did not expect, that hardly hoped for, any 
issue. As he had been content to be Harry 
Dennison's secretary, so he seemed satisfied to 
be an undeclared lover ; finding enough for his 
modesty in what most men would have felt 
only a spur to urge them to press further. 

He was roused by a step on the stair. A 
moment later, Harry Dennison burst into the 
room. Tom had seen him a few days before, 
uneasy, troubled, apologetic, talking of Maggie's 
strange indisposition — she was terribly out of 
sorts, he had said, and appeared to find all 
company and all talk irksome. He had spoken 
with a meek compassion that exasperated Tom 
— an unconsciousness of any hardship laid on 
him. Tom sat up, glad to console him for an 
hour, glad, perhaps, of any company that 
would trick an hour into the past. But to-day 
Harry's step was light; there was a smile on 
his lips, a gleam of hope in his eyes ; he rushed 
to Tom, seized his hand, and, before he sat 
down or took off his hat, blurted out, 

' Tom, old boy, she wants you to come 
back ! ' 

Tom started. 

'What?' he cried, ' Mrs Dennison wants — ' 

'Yes,' Harry went on, 'she sent for me to- 
day and told me that she saw how I missed 
you, and that she was sorry that she had — 
well, sorry for all the trouble, you know. 
Then she said, " I wonder if Tom " (she called 
you Tom) " bears malice. Tell him Omofaga 
is quite gone, and I want him to come back, 


. .< 

ancl if he'll come here, I'll go on my knees 
to him."' 

Harry stopped, smiling joyfully at his won- 
derful news. Tom wore a doubtful look. 

' I can't tell you,' said Harry, 'what it means 
to me. It's not only your coming, old chap, 
though, heaven knows, I'm gladder of that than 
I've been of anything for months — but you see 
what it means, Tom ? It means — why, it means 
that we're to be as we were before that fellow 
came. Tom, she spoke to me more as she used 

His voice faltered ; he spoke as an innocent 
loyal man might of a pardon from some loved 
capricious sovereign. He had not understood 
the disfavour — he had dimly discerned inex- 
plicable anger. Now it was past, and the sun 
shone again. Tom found himself saying, 

■ I wish there were more fellows in the world 
like you, Harry.' 

Harry's eyes opened in momentary astonish- 
ment at the irrelevance, but he was too full 
of his news and his request to stay for 

' You'll come, Tom ? ' he asked. 'You won't 
refuse her ? ' ' Could any one refuse her any- 
thing?' was what his tone said. 'We want 
you, Tom,' he went on. ' Hang it, I've had 
no one to speak to lately but that Cormack 
woman. I hate that woman. She's always hint- 
ing something — some lie or other, you know.' 

' Don't be too hard on little Mrs Cormack,' 
said Tom. 


He remembered certain words which had 
shown a soft spot in Mrs Cormack's heart. 
Harry did not know that she had grieved to 
hear him pacing up and down. 

' You'll come, Tom ? I know, of course, 
that you've a right to be angry, and to say 
you won't, and all that. But I know you 
won't do it. She's not well, Tom ; and I — 
I can't always understand her. You used to 
understand her, Tom. She used to like your 
chaff, you know.' 

Tom would not enter on that. He pressed 
Harry's hand, answering, 

' Of course, I'll come.' 

' Bring all this with you,' cried Harry. ' I 
sha'n't take up your time. You must stick to 
your own work as much as you like. When'll 
\'OU come, Tom ? ' 

' Why, to-morrow,' said Tom Loring. 

' Not now ? ' 

' I might, if you like,' smiled Tom. 

' That's right, old chap. You can send 
round for your things. Bring a bag, and come 
to-night. Your room's there for you. I told 
them to keep it ready. Damn it, Tom, I 
thought things would come straight some day, 
and I kept it ready.' 

Had things come straight? Tom did not 

1 1 say,' pursued Harry, ' I met Ruston to- 
day. He was very kind about my cutting the 
Omofaga. I wonder if I've been unjust to 
him!' ^ 


Then Tom smiled. 

1 I shouldn't bother about that, if I were you,' 
said he. 

' Well, he's not a thin-skinned chap, is he ? ' 
asked Harry, with relief. 

' I should fancy not,' said Tom. 

' You see, he's off in a fortnight, and I 
thought we ought to part friends. So I told 
him — well, I said, you know, that when he 
came back, we should be glad to see him.' 

Tom began to laugh. 

1 You're getting quite a diplomatist, Harry,' 
he said. 

When Harry bustled away, his high spirits 
raised higher still by Tom's ready assent, Tom 
put on the garb of society, and took a cab to 
Adela Ferrars'. 

* She'll be very pleased about this,' thought 
Tom, as he went along. * It's good news to 
take her.' 

But whatever else Tom Loring knew, it is 
certain that he was not infallible on the subject 
of women and their feelings. He recognised the 
fact (having indeed suspected it many times 
before) when Adela, on the telling of his tidings, 
flashed out in petulance, 

4 She's sent for you back ? ' she asked ; and 
Tom nodded. 

' And you're going ? ' was the next quick 

4 Well, I could hardly refuse, could I ? ' 

' No ; I suppose not — at least not if you're 
Maggie Dunnison's dog, for her to drive 



away with a stick and whistle back at her 

Tom had been drinking tea. He set down 
the cup, and feebly stroked his thigh with his 
hand ; and he glanced at Adela (who was 
rattling the tea things) with deprecatory sur- 

' I hadn't thought of it like that,' he ventured 
to remark. 

1 Oh, of course, you hadn't. Maggie sends 
you away — you go. Maggie sends a footman 
(well, then, Harry) for you — and back you go. 
And I suppose you'll say you're very sorry, 
won't you ? and you'll promise you won't do it 
again, won't you ? ' 

4 I don't think I shall be asked to do that,' 
said Tom, speaking seriously, but showing a 
slight offence in his manner. 

' But if she tells you to ? ' asked Adela scorn- 

« I didn't think you'd take it like this. Why 
shouldn't I go back ? ' 

' Oh, go back ! Go back and fetch and 
carry for Maggie, and write Harry's speeches 
till the end of the chapter. Oh, yes, go back ! ' 

Tom was puzzled. 

'Has anything upset you to-day?' he 

' Has anything upset me ! ' echoed Adela, 
throwing her eyes up to the ceiling. 

Tom finished his tea in a nervous gulp. 

' I don't see why I shouldn't go back,' he 

> -i- 

' Well, I'm telling you to go back,' said Adela. 
' Go back till she's had enough of you again — 
and then be turned out again.' 

Tom's face grew crimson. 

1 At least,' he said slowly, ' she has never 
spoken to me like that.' 

Adela had left the table and taken an arm- 
chair near the fire. Her back was to the door 
and her face towards Tom ; she held a fire- 
screen between her and him, letting the blaze 
burn her face. But Tom, being unobservant, 
paid no attention to the position of the fire- 
screen. With a look of pain on his face, he 
took up his hat and rose to his feet. The 
meeting had been very different from what he 
had hoped. 

' When do you go ? ' she asked brusquely. 

'To-night. I'm just going back to my rooms 
for a bag, and then I shall go. I'm sorry you 
should — I'm sorry you don't think I'm doing 

1 It doesn't matter two straws what I think,' 
said Adela behind the screen. 

1 Ay, but it does to me,' said Tom. 

She made no answer, and he stood for a 
moment, looking uneasily at the intruding fire- 

* Well, good-bye,' he said. 

I Good-bye.' 

I I shall see you soon, I hope. 
1 If Maggie will let you come.' 

' 1 don't know,' said Tom, ' what pleasure you 
find in that. It seems to me that as a gentle- 


man — to say nothing of my being their friend — 
I must go back.' 

She made no retort to this, and he moved 
a step towards the door. Then he turned and 
glanced at her. She had dropped the screen 
and her eyes were fixed on the fire. He sighed, 
frowned, shrugged his shoulders, turned, and 
made for the door again. In another second 
he would have been gone, but Adela cried 

' Mr Loring.' 

• Yes,' he answered, coming to a halt. 

' Stay where you are a minute. Will you 
stay there a minute ? ' 

' An hour if you like,' said Tom. 

' I just want to say that — that — You're coming 
nearer ! — I want you to stay just where you are.' 

Tom halted. He had, in fact, been coming 
slowly towards her. 

' I suppose,' said Adela, in quite an in- 
different tone, ' that you'll settle down with 
the Dennisons again ? ' 

' I don't know. Yes ; I suppose so.' 

' Do you/ said Adela, sinking far into the 
recesses of the arm-chair, and holding up the 
screen again, ' like being there better than 
anywhere else? I suppose Maggie is very 
charming ?' 

1 You know just what she is.' 

' I'm sure I don't. I'm a woman.' 

There was a long pause. Tom felt absurd, 
standing there in the middle of the room. 
Suddenly Adela leapt to her feet 



* Oh, go away ! Yes, you're right to go 
back. Oh, yes, you're quite right. Good-bye, 
Mr Loring.' 

For a moment longer Tom stood still ; then 
he moved, not towards the door, but towards 
Adela. When he spoke to her it was in a 
husky voice. There were no sweet seducing 
tones in his voice. 

' There's only one place in the world I really 
care to be,' he said. 

She did not speak. 

1 Harry and Mrs Dennison are my friends,' 
he said, ' and as long as my time's my own, 
I'll give it to them. But you don't suppose I 
go there for happiness ? ' 

' I don't suppose you ever did anything for 
happiness,' said Adela, as though she were 
advancing a heinous charge. ' Really, nothing 
makes me so impatient as an unselfish man.' 

Tom smiled, but his smile was still a nervous 
one. Nevertheless he felt less absurd. A dis- 
tant presage of triumph stole into his mind. 

' Don't you want me to go ? ' he asked. 

1 You may go wherever you like,' said 

Tom came still nearer. Adela held out her 
hand and said ' good-bye.' Tom took the 
hand and held it. 

' You see,' he said, ' I didn't think I had 
anywhere else to go. I did know a charming 
lady who was very witty and — very rich ! ' 

' I — I'll put some more in Omofaga and lose 
it Oh, you are stupid, Tom ! I really thought 


I should have to ask you myself, Tom. I'd 
have done it sooner than let you go.' 

It was not, happily, in the end necessary, and 
Adelasaid with a sigh, 

1 1 believe that I've something to thank Mr 
Ruston for, after all.' 

' What's that ? ' 

' Why, he made me resolved to marry the 
man who of all the world was most unlike him.' 

'Then I've something to thank him for 

' Tom,' she said, ' I don't know what I said 
to you. I — I was jealous of Maggie Dennison.' 

It was later by an hour when Tom Loring 
took his way, not to his rooms for a bag, but 
straight to Curzon Street. Adela had con- 
sented not to wait ( ' In one's eleventh season one 
does not want to wait,' she said), and Tom 
considered that it was now hardly worth while 
to move. So he broke into Harry Dennison's 
study with a radiant face, crying, 

• Harry, I'm not coming to you after all, 
old fellow.' 

Harry started up in dismay, but a short ex- 
planation turned his sorrow into rejoicing. 
Again and again he shook Tom's hand, tell- 
ing him that the man who won a good wife 
won the greatest treasure earth could offer — 
and, (he added), ' by Jove, Tom, I believe the 
best chance of heaven too,' and Tom gripped 
Harry's hand and cleared his own throat 
Then they both felt very much ashamed, and, 
by way of forgetting this deplorable outburst 


"<ff ' emotion (which Tom felt was quite un- 
English, and smacked indeed of Mrs Cormack), 
agreed to go upstairs and announce the news 
to Maggie. 

' She'll be delighted/ said Harry. 

Tom followed him upstairs to the drawing- 
room. Mrs Dennison was sitting by the fire, 
doing nothing. But she sprang up when 
they came in, and advanced to meet Tom. 
He also felt like an ill-used subject as she 
gave him her hand and said, 

1 How forgiving you are, Tom ! ' 

He looked in her face, and found her smiling 
under sad eyes. And he muttered some con- 
fused words about ' all that ' not mattering 
' tuppence.' And indeed Mrs Dennison seemed 
content to take the same view, for she smiled 
again and said, 

' Ah, well, there's an end of it, anyhow.' 

Then Harry, who had been wondering why 
Tom delayed his tidings, burst out with them, 
and Tom added lamely, 

1 Yes, it's true, Mrs Dennison. So you see 
I can't come.' 

She laughed. 

* I must accept your excuse,' she said, and 
added a few kind words. ' As for Adela,' she 
went on, ' she's never been to see me lately, 
but for your sake I'll be humble and go and 
see her to-morrow.' 

Harry, as though suddenly remembering, ex- 
claimed that he must tell the children ; in fact, 
he had an idea that a man liked to talk about 


his engagement to a woman alone, and plumed 
himself on getting out of the room with some 
dexterity. So Tom and Maggie Dennison were 
left for a little while together. 

At first they talked of Adela, but it was on 
Tom's mind to say something else, and at last 
he contrived to give it utterance. 

1 1 can't tell you,' he said, looking away from 
her, ' how glad I was to get your message. 
This — this trouble — has been horrible. I know 
I behaved like a sulky fool. I was quite 
wrong. It's awfully good of you to for- 
get it.' 

' Don't talk like that,' she said in a low 
slow voice. • How do you think Harry's 
looking ? ' 

' Oh, better than I have seen him for a long 
time. But you're not looking very blooming, 
Mrs Dennison.' 

She leant forward. 

' Do you think he's happy, or is he worrying? 
He talks to you, you know.' 

' I think he's happier than he's been for 

She lay back with a sigh. 

1 1 hope so,' she said. 

' And you ? ' he asked, timidly yet urgently. 

It seemed useless to pretend complete ignor- 
ance, yet impossible to assert any know- 

' Oh, why talk about me ? Talk about 

'I love Adela,' he said gravely, 'as I've 


never loved any other woman. But when 1 
was a young man and came here, you were 
very kind to me. And I — no, I'll go on 
now — I looked up to you, and thought you 
the — the grandest woman I knew ; and to us 
young men you were a sort of queen. Well, 
I haven't changed, Mrs Dennison. I still think 
all that, and, if you ever want a friend to help 
you, or — or a servant to serve you, why, you 
can call on me.' 

She sat silent while he spoke, gazing at 
the ground in front of her. Tom grew 

1 There was one thing I came to Dieppe 
to do, but I hadn't the courage there. I 
wanted to tell you that Harry — that Harry 
was worthy of your love. I thought — well, 
I've gone further than I thought I could. 
You know ; you must forgive me. If there's 
one thing in all the world that makes me 
feel all I ever felt for you, and more, it's to 
see him happy again, and you here trying to 
make him. Because I know that, in a way, 
it's difficult.' 

' Do you know ? ' she asked. 

' Yes, I know. And, because I know, I tell 
you that you're a wife any man might thank 
God for.' 

Mrs Dennison laughed ; and Tom started 
at the jarring sound. Yet it was not a sound 
of mirth. 

' You had temptations most of us haven't — 
yes, and a nature most of us haven't. And 


here you are. So,' — he rose from his chair 
and took her hand that drooped beside her, 
and bent his head and kissed it, — 'though I 
love Adela with all my heart, still I kiss your 
hand as your true and grateful servant, as I 
used to be in old days.' 

Tom stopped ; he had said his say, and his 
voice had grown tremulous in the saying. 
Yet he had done it ; he had told her what 
he felt ; and he prayed that it might comfort 
her in the trouble that had lined her forehead 
and made her eyes sad. 

Mrs Dennison did not glance at him. For 
a moment she sat quite silent. Then she 

'Thanks, Tom,' and pressed his hand. 

Then she suddenly sat up in her chair and 
held her hand out before her, and whispered 
to him words that he hardly heard. 

' If you knew,' she said, ' you wouldn't kiss it ; 
you'd spit on it' 

Tom stood, silently, suddenly, wretchedly 
conscious that he did not know what he 
ought to do. Then he blurted out, 

' You'll stay with him ? ' 

'Yes, I shall stay with him/ she said, glanc- 
ing up ; and Tom seemed to see in her eyes 
the picture of the long future that her words 
meant. And he went away with his joy 

' + 



IN the month of June two years later, Lord 
Semingham sat on the terrace outside 
the drawing-room windows of his country 
house. By him sat Adela Loring, and Tom 
was to be seen a hundred yards away, smok- 
ing a pipe, and talking to Harry Dennison. 
Suddenly Semingham, who had been reading 
the newspaper, broke into a laugh. 

1 Listen to this,' said he. ' " It is true that the 
vote for the Omofaga railway was carried, but 
a majority of ten is not a glorious victory, 
and there can be little doubt that the prestige 
of the Government will suffer considerably by 
such a narrow escape from defeat, and by 
Lord Detchmore's ill-advised championship of 
Mr Ruston's speculative schemes. Why is 
the British Government to pull the chestnuts 
out of the fire for Mr Ruston ? That is what 
Lord Semingham paused and added, 
'They may well ask. I don't know. Do 
you ?' 



1 Yesterday,' observed Adela, • I received a 
communication from you in your official capa- 
city. It was not a pleasant letter, Lord 

' I daresay not, madam,' said Semingham. 

'You told me that the Board regretted to 
say that, owing to unforeseen hindrances, the 
work in Omofaga had not advanced as rapidly 
as had been hoped, and that for the present 
it was considered advisable to devote all pro- 
fits to the development of the Company's 
territory. You added, however, that you had 
the utmost confidence in Mr Ruston's zeal 
and ability, and in the ultimate success of the 

'Yes; that was the circular,' said Semingham. 
' That is, in fact, for some time likely to be 
the circular.' 

They both laughed ; then both grew grave, 
and sat silent side by side. 

The drawing-room window was thrown open, 
and Lady Semingham looked out. She held 
a letter in her hand. 

' Oh, fancy, Adela ! ' she cried. ' Such a 
terrible thing has happened. I've had a letter 
from Marjory Valentine — she's in awful grief, 
poor child.' 

' Why, what about ? ' cried Adela. 

' Poor young Walter Valentine has died of 
fever in Omofaga. He caught it at Fort 
Imperial, and he was dead in a week. Poor 
Lady Valentine! Isn't it sad?' 

Adela and Semingham looked at one another. 


"5 •« 

A moment ago they had jested on the sacri- 
fices demanded by Omofaga; Semingham had 
seen in the division on the vote for the railway 
a delightful extravagant burlesque on a larger 
stage of the fatefulness which he had whimsi- 
cally read into Willie Ruston's darling scheme. 
Adela had fallen into his mood, adducing the 
circular as her evidence. They were taken at 
their word in grim earnest. Omofaga claimed 
real tears, as though in conscious malice it had 
set itself to outplay them at their sport 

' You don't say anything, Alfred,' complained 
little Lady Semingham from the window. 

• What is there to say ? ' asked he, spreading 
out his hands. 

'The only son of his mother, and she is a 
widow,' whispered Adela, gazing away over 
the sunny meadows. 

Bessie Semingham looked at the pair for 
an instant, vaguely dissatisfied with their want 
of demonstrativeness. There seemed, as Alfred 
said, very little to say ; it was so sad that 
there ought to have been more to say. But 
she could think of nothing herself, so, in her 
pretty little lisp, she repeated, 

• How sad for poor Lady Valentine ! ' and 
slowly shut the window. 

' He was a bright boy, with the makings 
of a man in him,' said Semingham. 

Adela nodded, and for a long while neither 
spoke again. Then Semingham, with the air 
of a man who seeks relief from sad thoughts 
which cannot alter sadder facts, asked, 


'Where are the Dennisons?' 

' She went for a walk by herself, but I think 
she's come back and gone a stroll with Tom 
and Harry.' As she spoke, she looked up 
and caught a puzzled look in Semingham's 
eye. 'Yes/ she went on in quick under- 
standing. ' I don't quite understand her 

'But what do you think?' he asked, in his 
insatiable curiosity that no other feeling could 
altogether master. 

' I don't want to think about it,' said Adela. 
' But, yes, I'll tell you, if you like. She isn't 

* No. I could tell you that,' said he. 

' But Harry is happy. Lord Semingham, 
when I see her with him — her sweetness and 
kindness to him — I wonder.' 

This time it was Semingham who nodded 
silent assent. 

' And,' said Adela, with a glance of what 
seemed like defiance, ' I pray.' 

'You're a good woman, Adela,' said he. 

' He sees no change in her, or he sees a 
change that makes him love her more. Surely, 
surely, some day, Lord Semingham — ? ' 

She broke off, leaving her hope unexpressed, 
but a faint smile on her face told of it 

' It may be — some day,' he said, as though 
he hardly hoped. Then, with one of his quick 
retreats, he took refuge in asking, 'Are you 
happy with your husband, Adela? I hope to 
goodness you are.' 


' ~U 

* Perfectly,' she answered, with a bright pass- 
ing smile. 

I But you get no dividends,' he suggested, 
raising his brows. 

' No ; no dividends,' said she. * No more 
do you.' 

'No; but we shall.' 

I I suppose we shall.' 
'He'll pull us through.' 

' I wish he'd never been born,' cried Adela. 

' Perhaps. Since he has, I shall keep my 
eye on him.' 

From the shrubbery at the side of the lawn, 
Maggie Dennison came out. She was leaning 
on her husband's arm, and Tom Loring walked 
with them. A minute later they had heard 
from Adela the news of the ending of young 
Sir Walter's life and hopes. 

'Good God!' cried Harry Dennison in grief. 

They sat down and began to talk sadly 
of the lost boy. Only Maggie Dennison said 
nothing. Her eyes were fixed on the sky, 
and she seemed hardly to hear. Yet Adela, 
stealing a glance at her, saw her clenched hand 

' Do you remember,' asked Semingham, 
' how at Dieppe Bessie would have it that 
the little red crosses were tombstones? She 
was quite pleased with the idea.' 

' Yes ; and how horrified the old Baron was,' 
said Adela. 

' Both he and Walter gone ! ' mused Harry 


' Well, the omen is fulfilled now,' said Tom 
Loring. ' Ruston need not fear for himself.' 

Harry Dennison turned a sudden uneasy 
glance upon his wife. She looked up and 
met it with a calm sad smile. 

' He was a brave boy,' she said. ' Mr 
Ruston will be very sorry.' She rose and 
laid her hand on her husband's arm. ' Come, 
Harry,' she said, ' we'll walk again.' 

He rose and gave her his arm. She paused, 
glancing from one to the other of the group. 

'You mustn't think he won't be sorry,' 
she said pleadingly. 

Then she pressed her husband's arm and 
walked away with him. They passed again 
into the fringing shrubbery and were lost to 
view. Tom Loring did not go with them 
this time, but sat down by his wife's side. 
For a while no one spoke. Then Adela said 

•She knows him better than we do. I 
suppose he will be sorry. Will he be sorry 
for Marjory too?' 

'If he thinks of her,' said Semingham. 

'Yes — if he thinks of her.' 

Semingham lit a cigarette and watched the 
smoke curl skywards. 

' Some of us are bruised,' said he, ' and some 
of us are broken.' 

'Not beyond cure?' Adela beseeched, touch- 
ing his arm. 

' God knows,' said he with a shrug. 

' Not beyond cure ? ' she said again, insisting. 


1 1 hope not, my dear,' said Tom Loring 

' Bruised or broken — bruised or broken ! ' 
mused Semingham, watching his smoke-rings. 
'But the car moves on, eh, Adela?' 

1 Yes, the car moves on/ said she. 

'And I don't know,' said Tom Loring, 
'that I'd care to be the god who sits in it' 

fc> v 

While Maggie Dennison walked with Harry 
in the shrubbery, and the group on the terrace 
talked of the god in the car, on the other 
side of the world a man sat looking out of 
a window under a new-risen sun. Presently 
his eyes dropped, and they fell on a wooden 
cross that stood below the window. A cheap 
wreath of artificial flowers decked it — a wreath 
one of Ruston's company had carried over 
seas from the grave of his dead wife, and 
had brought out of his treasures to honour 
young Sir Walter's grave ; because he and 
they all had loved the boy. And, as Maggie 
Dennison had said, Ruston also was sorry. 
His eyes dwelt on the cross, while he seemed 
to hear again Walter's merry laugh and con- 
fident ringing tones, and to see his brave 
lithe figure as he sprang on his horse and 
cantered ahead of the party, eager for the 
road, or the sport, ay, or the fight. For a 
moment Willie Ruston's head fell, then he 
got up — the cross had sent his thoughts 
back to the far-off land he had left. He- 
walked across the little square room to an 


iron-bound box ; unlocking it, he searched 
amid a pile of papers and found a woman's 
letter. He began to read it, but, when he 
had read but half, he laid it gently down 
again among the papers and closed and 
locked the box. His face was white and 
set, his eyes gleamed as if in anger. Sud- 
denly he muttered to himself, 

' I loved that boy. I never thought of it 
killing him.' 

And on thought of the boy came another, 
and for an instant the stern mouth quivered, 
and he half-turned towards the box again. 
Then he jerked his head, muttering again; 
yet his face was softer, till a heavy frown 
grew upon it, and he pressed his hand for 
the shortest moment to his eyes. 

It was over — over, though it was to come 
again. Treading heavily on the floor — there 
was no lightness left in his step — he reached 
the door, and found a dozen mounted men 
waiting for him, and a horse held for him. 
He looked round on the men ; they were 
fine fellows, tall and stalwart, ready for 
anything. Slowly a smile broke on his face, 
an unmirthful smile, that lasted but till he 
had said, 

1 Well, boys, we must teach these fellows 
a little lesson to-day.' 

His followers laughed and joked, but none 
joined him where he rode at their head. The 
chief was a man to follow, not to ride with, 
they said, half in liking, half in dislike, wholly 


~S .« 

in trust and deference. Yet in old days he 

had been good to ride with too. 

The car was moving on. Maybe Tom 
Loring was not very wrong, when he said 
that he would not care to be the man who 
sat in it. 












> . 2 




. . II 




























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' The paper, type, and binding of this edition are in excellent taste, and leave 
nothing to be desired by lovers of literature.' — Standard. 

' Two handsome and finely-printed volumes, light to hold, pleasing to look at, easy 
to read.' — National Obsci~'er. 

By Lawrence Sterne. With an Introduction by Charles 
Wiiibley, and a Portrait. 2 vols. Js. 

an Introduction by G. S. Street, and a Portrait. 2 vols. 7s. 

By James Morier. With an Introduction by E. G. Browne, M. A., 
and a Portrait. 2 vols. Js. 

12 Messrs. Methuen's List 

the lives of donne, wotton, hooker, her- 
BERT, and SANDERSON. By Izaak Walton. With an 
Introduction by Vernon Blackburn, and a Portrait. 3.?. 6d. 

Johnson, LL.D. With an Introduction by J. H. Millar, and a 
Portrait. 3 vols. 10s. 6d. 

Illustrated Books 


translated by Jane Barlow, Author of ' Irish Idylls,' and pictured 
by F. D. Bedford. Small ^to. 6s. net. 

S. Baring Gould. A BOOK OF FAIRY TALES retold by S. 

Baring Gould. With numerous illustrations and initial letters by 

Arthur J. Gaskin. Second Edition. Crown 8vo. Buckram. 6s. 

'Mr. Baring Gould has done a good deed, and is deserving of gratitude, in re-writing 
in honest, simple style the old stories that delighted the childhood of " our fathers 
and grandfathers." We do not think he has omitted any of our favourite stories, 
the stories that are commonly regarded as merely " old fashioned." As to the form 
of the book, and the printing, which is by Messrs. Constable, it were difficult to 
commend overmuch. — Saturday Review. 

lected and edited by S. Baring Gould. With Numerous Illustra- 
tions by F. D. Bedford. Second Edition. Crown Svo. Buckram. 6s, 

This volume consists of some of the old English stories which have been lost to sight, 
and they are fully illustrated by Mr. Bedford. 

' Nineteen stories which will probably be new to everybody, who is not an antiquarian 
or a bibliographer. A book in which children will revel.' — Daily Telegraph. 

' Of the fairy tales, first place must be given to the collection of " Old English Fairy 
Tales " of Mr. S. Baring Gould, in introducing which the author expresses his 
surprise that no collection had before been attempted and adapted to the reading 
of children of the old delightful English folk-tales and traditionary stories. He 
has gone to the most ancient sources, and presents to young readers in this 
volume a series of seventeen, told in his own way, and illustrated by F. D. Bed- 
ford. We can conceive of no more charming gift-book for children than this 
volume.' — Pall Mall Gazelle. 

' The only collection of really old English fairy tales that we have.' — IVotnan. 

'A charming volume, which children will be sure to appreciate. The stories have 
been selected with great ingenuity from various old ballads and folk-tales, and, 
having been somewhat altered and readjusted, now stand forth, clothed in Mr. 
Baring-Gould's delightful English, to enchant youthful readers. All the tales 
are good.' — Guardian. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 13 


'■* RHYMES. Edited by S. Baring Gould, and Illustrated by the 

Students of the Birmingham Art School. Buckram, gilt top. 

Crown %vo. 6s. 

' The volume is very complete in its way, as it contains nursery songs to the number 
°f 77; game-rhymes, and jingles. To the student we commend the sensible intro- 
duction, and the explanatory notes. The volume is superbly printed on soft, 
thick paper, which it is a pleasure to touch ; and the borders and pictures are, as 
we have said, among the very best specimens we have seen of the Gaskin school.' 
— Birmingham Gazette. 

' One of the most artistic Christmas books of the season. Every page is surrounded 
by a quaint design, and the illustrations are in the same spirit. The collection 
itself is admirably done, and provides a prodigious wealth of the rhymes genera- 
tions of English people have learned in tender years. A more charming volume 
of its kind has not been issued this season.' — Record. 

'A perfect treasure.' — Black and White. 

'The collection of nursery rhymes is, since it has been made by Mr. Baring Gould, 
very complete, and among the game-rhymes we have found several quite new 
ones. The notes are just what is wanted.' — Bookman. 

H. C. Beeching. A BOOK OF CHRISTMAS VERSE. Edited 
by H. C. Beeching, M.A., and Illustrated by Walter Crane. 
Crown 8t'0. $s. 

A collection of the best verse inspired by the birth of Christ from the Middle Ages 
to the present day. Mr. Walter Crane has designed several illustrations and the 
cover. A distinction of the book is the large number of poems it contains by 
modern authors, a few of which are here printed for the first time. 

'"A Book of Christmas Verse," selected by so good a judge of poetry as Mr. 
Beeching, and picturesquely illustrated by Mr. Crane, is likely to prove a popular 
Christmas book, more especially as it is printed by Messrs. Constable, with their 
usual excellence of typography.' — Athcn&nm. 

' A very pleasing anthology, well arranged and well edited.' — Manchester Guardian. 

'A beautiful anthology.' — Daily Chronicle. 

'An anthology which, from its unity of aim and high poetic excellence, has a better 
right to exist than most of its fellows.' — Guardian. 

' As well-chosen and complete a collection as we have seen.'— Spectator. 


Flinders Petrie. A HISTORY OF EGYPT, from the 

Earliest Times to the Present Day. Edited by W. M. 

Flinders Petrie, D.C.L., LL.D., Professor of Egyptology at 

University College. Fully Illustrated. In Six Volumes. Crown 

Svo. 6s. each. 

Vol. I. Prehistoric to Eighteenth Dynasty. W. M. F. 

Petrie. Second Edition. 

'A history written in the spirit of scientific precision so worthily represented by Dr. 
Petrie and his school cannot but promote sound and accurate study, and 
supply a vacant place in the English literature of Egyptology.'— Times. 

14 Messrs. Methuen's List 

Flinders Petrie. EGYPTIAN TALES. Edited by W. M. 

Flinders Petrie. Illustrated by Tristram Ellis. In Two 

Volumes. Crozvn 8vo. 3^. 6d. each. 

* A valuable addition to the literature of comparative folk-lore. The drawings are 
really illustrations in the literal sense of the word.'— Globe. 

' It has a scientific value to the student of history and archaeology.'— Scotsman. 

'Invaluable as a picture of life in Palestine and Egypt.'— Daily News. 


\V. M. Flinders Petrie, D.C.L. With 120 Illustrations. Crown 
Svo. 35. 6d. 

' Professor Flinders Petrie is not only a profound Egyptologist, but an accomplished 
.student of comparative archaeology. In these lectures, delivered at the Royal 
Institution, he displays both qualifications with rare skill in elucidating the 
development of decorative art in Egypt, and in tracing its influence on the 
art of other countries. Few experts can speak with higher authority and wider 
knowledge than the Professor himself, and in any case his treatment of his sub- 
ject is full of learning and insight.' — Times. 

The Emperors of the Julian and Claudian Lines. With numerous 
Illustrations from Busts, Gems, Cameos, etc. By S. Baring Gould, 
Author of ' Mehalah,' etc. Third Edition. Royal %vo. \$s. 

' A most splendid and fascinating book on a subject of undying interest. The great 
feature of the book is the use the author has made of the existing portraits of the 
Caesars, and the admirable critical subtlety he has exhibited in dealing with this 
line of research. It is brilliantly written, and the illustrations are supplied on a 
scale of profuse magnificence.' — Daily Chronicle. 

' The volumes will in no sense disappoint the general reader. Indeed, in their way, 
there is nothing inany sense so good in English. . . . Mr. Baring Gould has 
presented his narrative in such away as not to make one dull page.' — Athenceum. 

Clark. THE COLLEGES OF OXFORD : Their History and 

their Traditions. By Members of the University. Edited by A. 

Clark, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Lincoln College. 8vo. 12s. 6d. 

'A work which will certainly be appealed to for many years as the standard book on 
the Colleges of Oxford.' — Athenceum, 


TO 1492. By F. T. Perrens. Translated by Hannah Lynch. 

Svo. 12s. 6d. 

A history of Florence under the domination of Cosimo, Piero, and Lorenzo de 

' This is a standard book by an honest and intelligent historian, who has deserved 
well of all who are interested in Italian history.'— Manchester Guardian. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 15 

* "£By E. L. S. Horsburgh, B. A. With Plans. Crown Svo. $s. 

'A brilliant essay — simple, sound, and thorough.' — Daily Chronicle. 

' A study, the most concise, the most lucid, the most critical that has been produced.' 
— Birmingham Mercury, 

'A careful and precise study, a fair and impartial criticism, and an eminently read- 
able book.' — Admiralty and Horse Guards Gazette. 

George, M.A., Fellow of New College, Oxford. Witli numerous 
Plans. Second Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' Mr. George has undertaken a very useful task — that of making military affairs in- 
telligible and instructive to non-military readers — and has executed it with laud- 
able intelligence and industry, and with a large measure of success.' — Times. 

'This book is almost a revelation ; and we heartily congratulate the author on his 
work and on the prospect of the reward he has well deserved for so much con- 
scientious and sustained labour.' — Daily Chronicle. 

a.d. 1250-1530. By Oscar Browning, Fellow and Tutor of King's 
College, Cambridge. Second Edition. In Two Volumes. Crown 
Svo. 5 j. each. 

Vol. 1. 1250- 1409. — Guelphs and Ghibellines. 

Vol. 11. 1409-1530.— The Age of the Condottieri. 

'A vivid picture of mediaeval Italy.' — Standard. 

1 Mr. Browning is to be congratulated on the production of a work of immense 
labour and learning.' — Westminster Gazette. 

O'Grady. THE STORY OF IRELAND. By Standish 
O'Grady, Author of ' Finn and his Companions.' Cr. Svo. 2s. 6d. 
' Most delightful, most stimulating. Its racy humour, its original imaginings, 

make it one of the freshest, breeziest volumes.' — Methodist Times. 
'A survey at once graphic, acute, and quaintly written.' — Times. 


Robert Louis Stevenson. VAILIMA LETTERS. By Robert 
Louis Stevenson. With an Etched Portrait by William Strang, 
and other Illustrations. Second Edition. Crown Svo. Buckram. 
7s. 6d. 

Also 125 copies on hand-made paper. Demy Svo. 25.?. net. 

' The book is, on the one hand, a new revelation of a most lovable personality, and, 
on the other, it abounds in passages of the most charming prose — personal, de- 
scriptive, humorous, or all three ; exquisite vignettes of Samoan scenery, passages 
of joy in recovered health, to be followed— alas, too soon— by depression, physical 
and mental ; little revelations of literary secrets, such as of the origin of '' David 
Balfour," or of the scheme of the books not yet published ; amusing stories about 
the household, and altogether a picture of a character and surroundings tliat have 
never before been brought together since Britons took to writing books and 
travelling across the seas. The Vailima Letters are rich in all the varieties of that 
charm which have secured for Stevenson the affection of many others besides 
"journalists, fellow-novelists, and boys."' — The Times. 

' Few publications have in our time been more eagerly awaited than these " Vailima 

16 Messrs. Methuen's List 

Letters," giving the first fruits of the correspondence of Robert Louis Stevenson. 

But, high as the tide of expectation has run, no reader can possibly be disappointed 

in the result.' — St James's Gazette. 
' For the student of English literature these letters indeed are a treasure. They 

are more like " Scott's Journal " in kind than any other literary autobiography.' 

— National Observer. 
' One of the most noteworthy and most charming of the volumes of letters that have 

appeared in our time or in our language.' — Scotsman. 
' Eagerly as we awaited this volume, it has proved a gift exceeding all our hopes — a 

gift, I think, almost priceless. It unites in the rarest manner the value of a 

familiar correspondence with the value of an intimate journal.' — A. T. Q. C, in 


Collingwood. THE LIFE OF JOHN RUSKIN. By W. G. 
Collingwood, M.A., Editor of Mr. Ruskin's Poems. With 
numerous Portraits, and 13 Drawings by Mr. Ruskin. Second 
Edition. 2 vols. 8vo. 32s. 

' No more magnificent volumes have been published for a long time. . . .'—Times. 
' It is long since we have had a biography with such delights of substance and of 

form. Such a book is a pleasure for the day, and a joy for ever.' — Daily 

'A noble monument of a noble subject. One of the most beautiful books about one 

of the noblest lives of our century.' — Glasgow Herald. 

Waldstein. JOHN RUSKIN: a Study. By Charles Wald- 
stein, M.A., Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. With a Photo- 
gravure Portrait after Professor Herkomer. Post 8vo. $s. 

'A thoughtful, impartial, well-written criticism of Ruskin's teaching, intended to 
separate what the author regards as valuable and permanent from what is transient 
and erroneous in the great master's writing.' — Daily Chronicle. 

W. H. Hutton, M. A., Author of « William Laud.' With Portraits. 
Crown Svo. $s. 

'Mr. Wm. Holden Hutton has in a neat volume of less than 300 pages, told 
the story of the life of More, and he has placed it in such a well-painted 
setting of the times in which he lived, and so accompanied it by brief outlines 
of his principal writings, that the book lays good claim to high rank among 
our biographies. The work, it may be said, is excellently, even lovingly, written.' 
— Scotsman. 

' An excellent monograph.'— Times. 

' A most complete presentation.' — Daily Chronicle. 

Kaufmann. CHARLES KINGSLEY. By M. Kaufmann, 
M.A. Crown Svo. Buckram. 55. 
A biography of Kingsley, especially dealing with his achievements in social reform. 
' The author has certainly gone about his work with conscientiousness and industry. — 
Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 17 

"GLADSTONE. By A. F. Robbins. With Portraits. Crown 

%vo. 6s. 
'Considerable labour and much skill of presentation have not been unworthily- 
expended on this interesting work.' — Times. 

LINGWOOD. By W. Clark Russell, Author of ' The Wreck 
of the Grosvenor.' With Illustrations by F. Brangwyn. Second 
Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

* A most excellent and wholesome book, which we should like to see in the hands of 

every boy in the country.' — St. James's Gazette. 
'A really good book.' — Saturday Review. 
' A most excellent and wholesome book, which we should like to see in the hands 

of every boy in the country.' — St. James's Gazette. 

Southey. ENGLISH SEAMEN (Howard, Clifford, Hawkins, 
Drake, Cavendish). By Robert Southey. Edited, with an 
Introduction, by David Hannay. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' Admirable and well-told stories of our naval history.' — Army and Navy Gazette. 

' A brave, inspiriting book.' — Black and White. 

'The work of a master of style, and delightful all through.' — Daily Chronicle. 

General Literature 

S. Baring Gould. OLD COUNTRY LIFE. By S. Baring 

Gould, Author of ' Mehalah,' etc. With Sixty- seven Illustrations 
by W. Parkinson, F. D. Bedford, and F. Masey. Large 
Crown &vo, cloth super extra, top edge gilt, los. 6d. Fifth and 
Cheaper Edition. 6s. 
' " Old Country Life," as healthy wholesome reading, full of breezy life and move- 
ment, full of quaint stories vigorously told, will not be excelled by any book to be 
published throughout the year. Sound, hearty, and English to the core.' — World 


EVENTS. By S. Baring Gould, Author of ' Mehalah,' etc. 
Third Edition. Crown &vo. 6s. 

' A collection of exciting and entertaining chapters. The whole volume is delightful 
read ing. ' — Times. 

S. Baring Gould. FREAKS OF FANATICISM. By S. Baring 
Gould, Author of 'Mehalah,' etc. Third Edition. CrownSvo. 6s. 
' Mr. Baring Gould has a keen eye for colour and effect, and the subjects he has 
chosen give ample scope to his descriptive and analytic faculties. A perfectly 
fascinating book.' — Scottish Leader. 

A 3 

1 8 Messrs. Methuen's List 


English Folk Songs with their Traditional Melodies. Collected and 
arranged by S. Baring Gould and H. Fleetwood Sheppard. 
Demy d,to. 6s. 

S. Baring Gould. SONGS OF THE WEST: Traditional 
Ballads and Songs of the West of England, with their Traditional 
Melodies. Collected by S. Baring Gould, M.A., and H. Fleet- 
wood Sheppard, M. A. Arranged for Voice and Piano. In 4 Parts 
(containing 25 Songs each), Parts I., II., III., 3 j. each. Part 
IV., 5-r. In one Vol., French morocco, \$s. 
' A rich collection of humour, pathos, grace, and poetic fancy.'— Saturday Review. 

EVENTS. Fourth Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

STITIONS. With Illustrations. By S. Baring Gould. Crown 
8vo. Second Edition. 6s. 

' We have read Mr. Baring Gould's book from beginning to end. It is full of quaint 
and various information, and there is not a dull page in it. '—Notes and Queries. 

FRANCE. By S. Baring. Gould. With numerous Illustrations 
by F. D. Bedford, S. Hutton, etc. 2 vols. Demy 8vo. 32s. 

This book is the first serious attempt to describe the great barren tableland that 
extends to the south of Limousin in the Department of Aveyron, Lot, etc., a 
country of dolomite cliffs, and canons, and subterranean rivers. The region is 
full of prehistoric and historic interest, relics of cave-dwellers, of mediaeval 
robbers, and of the English domination and the Hundred Years' War. 

•His two richly-illustrated volumes are full of matter of interest to the geologist, 
the archaeologist, and the student of history and manners.'— Scotsman. 

' It deals with its subject in a mauner which rarely fails to arrest attention.'— Times. 

Edited by A. W. Hutton, M.A., and H. J. Cohen, M.A. With 
Portraits. %vo. Vols. IX. and X. 12s. 6d. each. 

Henley and Whibley. A BOOK OF ENGLISH PROSE. 

Collected by W. E. Henley and Charles Whikley. Cr. 8vo. 6s. 

'A unique volume of extracts— an art gallery of early prose.'— Birmingham Post. 

'An admirable companion to Mr. Henley's " Lyra Heroica.'"— Saturday Review. 

' Quite delightful. The choice made has been excellent, and the volume has been 
most admirably printed by Messrs. Constable. A greater treat for those not well 
acquainted with pre-Restoration prose could not be imagined. '—Athenaum. 

Messrs. Methuen's List iq 

Weila OXFORD AND OXFORD LIFE. By Members of 
the University. Edited by J. Wells, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of 
Wadham College. Crozim Svo. 35. 6d. 

This work contains an account oflife at Oxford — intellectual, social, and religious — 
a careful estimate of necessary expenses, a review of recent changes, a statement 
of the present position of the University, and chapters on Women's Education, 
aids to study, and University Extension. 

' We congratulate Mr. Wells on the production of a readable and intelligent account 
of Oxford as it is at the present time, written by persons who are possessed of a 
close acquaintance with the system and life of the University.' — Athentztim. 

W. B. Worsfold. SOUTH AFRICA : Its History and its Future. 
By W. Basil Worsfold, M.A. With a Map. Crown Svo. 6s. 

'An intensely interesting book.' — Daily Chronicle. 

' A monumental work compressed into a very moderate compass. The early history 
of the colon}', its agricultural resources, literature, and gold and diamond mines 
are all clearly described, besides the main features of recent Kaffir and Boer 
campaigns ; nor (to bring his record quite up to date) does the author fail to devote 
a chapter to Mr. Cecil Rhodes, the Chartered Company, and the Boer Conven- 
tion of 1884. Additional information from sources not usually accessible is to be 
found in the notes at the end of the book, as well as a historical summary, a 
statistical appendix, and other matters of special interest at the present moment.' 
— World. 

Ouida. VIEWS AND OPINIONS. By Ouida. Crown 8vo. 

Second Edition. 6s. 

' Ouida is outspoken, and the reader of this book will not have a dull moment. The 
book is full of variety, and sparkles with entertaining matter.' — Speaker. 

J. S. Shedlock. THE PIANOFORTE SONATA: Its Origin 

and Development. By J. S. Shedlock. Crown Svo. $s. 

' This work should be in the possession of every musician and amateur, for it not 
only embodies a concise and lucid history ot the origin of one of the most im- 
portant forms of musical composition, but, by reason of the painstaking research 
and accuracy of the author's statements, it is a very valuable work for reference.' 
— A thcnaum. 

Bowden. THE EXAMPLE OF BUDDHA: Being Quota- 
tions from Buddhist Literature for each Day in the Year. Compiled 
by E. M. Bowden. With Preface by Sir Edwin Arnold. Third 
Edition. \6mo. 2s. 6d. 

TION. By T. W. Bushill, a Profit Sharing Employer. Crown 
Svo. 2s. 6d. 

John Beever. PRACTICAL FLY-FISHING, Founded on 
Nature, by John Beever, late of the Thwaite House, Coniston. A 
New Edition, with a Memoir of the Author by W. G. Collingwood, 
M.A. Crown Svo. $s. 6d. 
A little book on Fly-Fishing by an old friend of Mr. Ruskin. 

20 Messrs. Methuen's List 


Freudenreich. DAIRY BACTERIOLOGY. A Short Manual 
for the Use of Students. By Dr. Ed. von Freudenreich. 
Translated from the German by J. R. Ainsworth Davis. B.A., 
F.C.P. Crown Svo. 2s.6d. 

Chalmers Mitchell. OUTLINES OF BIOLOGY. By P. 

Chalmers Mitchell, M.A., F.Z.S. Fully Illustrated. Croivn 
Svo. 6s. 

A text-book designed to cover the new Schedule issued by the Royal College of 
Physicians and Surgeons. 


George Massee. With 12 Coloured Plates. Royal Svo. iSs. net, 
'A work much in advance of any book in the language treating of this group of 
organisms. It is indispensable to every student of the Myxogastres. The 
coloured plates deserve high praise for their accuracy and execution.'— Natwc. 

Theology and Philosophy 

THE OLD TESTAMENT. By S. R. Driver, D.D., Canon of 
Christ Church, Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of 
Oxford. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' A welcome companion to the author's famous ' Introduction.' No man can read these 
discourses without feeling that Dr. Driver is fully alive to the deeper teaching of 
the Old Testament.' — Guardian. 

Biographical, Descriptive, and Critical Studies. By T. K. Cheyne, 
D.D., Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at 
Oxford. Large crown Svo. Js. 6d. 
This important book is a historical sketch of O. T. Criticism in the form of biographi- 
cal studies from the days of Eichhorn to those of Driver and Robertson Smith. 
It is the only book of its kind in English. 
'A very learned and instructive work.' — Times. 

Prior. CAMBRIDGE SERMONS. Edited by C H. Prior, 
M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Pembroke College. Crown Svo. 6s. 
A volume of sermons preached before the University of Cambridge by various 

preachers, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop Westcott. 
'A representative collection. Bishop Westcott's is a noble sermon.' — Guardian. 

Beeching, M.A., Rector of Yattendon, Berks. With a Preface by 
Canon Scott Holland. Crown Svo. 2s. 6d. 

Seven sermons preached before the boys of Bradfield College. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 21 

Lajferil. RELIGION IN BOYHOOD. Notes on the Reli- 
gious Training of Boys. With a Preface by J. R. Illingworth. 
By E. B. Layard, M.A. iSmo. is. 

Defence of some Ancient Institutions. By Charles John Sheb- 
beare, B.A., Christ Church, Oxford. Crown Svo. 25. 6d. 


F. S. Granger, M.A., Litt.D., Professor of Philosophy at Univer- 
sity College, Nottingham. Crown &vo. 6s. 
The author has attempted to delineate that group of beliefs which stood in close con- 
nection with the Roman religion, and among the subjects treated are Dreams, 
Nature Worship, Roman Magic, Divination, Holy Places, Victims, etc. Thus 
the book is, apart from its immediate subject, a contribution to folk-lore and com- 
parative psychology. 

* A scholarly analysis of the religious ceremonies, beliefs, and superstitions of ancient 
Rome, conducted in the new instructive light of comparative anthropology.' — 

'This is an analytical and critical work which will assist the student of Romish 
history to understand the factors which went to build up the remarkable charac- 
teristics of the old Romans especially in matters appertaining to religion.' — 
Oxford Review. 

2Detjottonal Boofcg* 

With Full-page Illustrations. Fcap. Svo. Buckram. 35. 6d. 
Padded morocco, 55. 

With an Introduction by Dean Farrar. Illustrated by C. M. 
Gere, and printed in black and red. 

'Amongst all the innumerable English editions of the "Imitation," there can have 
been few which were prettier than this one, printed in strong and handsome type 
by Messrs. Constable, with all the glory of red initials, and the comfort of buckram 
binding.' — Glasgow Herald. 

THE CHRISTIAN YEAR. By JOHN Keble. With an Intro- 
duction and Notes by W. LOCK, M. A., Sub-Warden of Keble College, 
Ireland Professor at Oxford, Author of the ' Life of John Keble.' 
Illustrated by R. Anning Bell. 

'The present edition is annotated with all the care and insight to be expected from 
Mr. Lock. The progress and circumstances of its composition are detailed in the 
Introduction. There is in an interesting Appendix on the mss. of the "Christian 
Year," and another giving the order in which the poems were written. A " Short 
Analysis of the Thought" is prefixed to each, and any difficulty in the text is ex- 
plained in a note. When we add to all this that the book is printed in clear, 
black type on excellent paper, and bound in dull red buckram, we shall have said 
enough to vindicate its claim to a place among the prettiest gift-books of the 
season. ' — Guardian. 

'The most acceptable edition of this ever popular work with which we are ac- 
qainted.'— Globe. 

•An edition which should be recognised as the best extant. . . . The edition is one 
which John Henry Newman and the late Dean Church would have handled with 
meet and affectionate remembrance.' — Birmingham Post. 

22 Messrs. Methuen's List 

Leaders of Religion 

Edited by H. C. BEECHING, M. A. With Portraits, crown Svo. 

A series of short biographies of the most prominent leaders J /\ 

of religious life and thought of all ages and countries. O j \~\ 

The following are ready — \^)l 


JOHN WESLEY. By J. H. Overton, M.A. 



CHARLES SIMEON. By H. C. G. Moule, M.A. 

JOHN KEBLE. By Walter Lock, M.A. 

THOMAS CHALMERS. By Mrs. Oliphant. 



WILLIAM LAUD. By W. H. Hutton, M.A. 

JOHN KNOX. By F. M'Cunn. 

JOHN HOWE. By R. F. Horton, D.D. 

Other volumes will be announced in due course. 




TRAGEDY. By Marie Corelli, Author of 'A Romance of Two 

Worlds,' 'Vendetta,' etc. Tiventy -first Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

The tender reverence of the treatment and the imaginative beauty of the writing 
have reconciled us to the daring of the conception, and the conviction is forced on 
us that even so exalted a subject cannot be made too familiar to us, provided it be 
presented in the true spirit of Christian faith. The amplifications of the Scripture 
narrative are often conceived with high poetic insight, and this "Dream of the 
World's Tragedy " is, despite some trifling incongruities, a lofty and not inade- 
quate paraphrase of the supreme climax of the inspired narrative.' — Dublin 

Marie Corelli. THE SORROWS OF SATAN. By Marie 

Corelli. Crown 8vo. Seventeenth Edition. 6s. 

Taere is in Marie Corelli's work a spark of the Divine. Her genius is neither common 
nor unclean. She has a far-reaching and gorgeous imagination ; she feels the 
beautiful intensely, and desires it. She believes in God and in good ; she hopes 
for the kindest and the best ; she is dowered with "the scorn of scorn, the hate 
cf hate, the love of love." There is to be discerned in her work that sense of the 

Messrs. Methuen's List 23 

unseen which is the glad but solemn prerogative of the pure in heart. Again, 
* " «he*isakeen observer, a powerful, fearless, caustic satirist; she makes an effec- 
tive protest, and enforces a grave warning against the follies and shams and vices 
of the age.' — Report of a sermon delivered on 'The Sorrows of Satan,' by the 
Rev. A. R. Harrison, Vicar, in Tettenhall Church, Wolverhampton, on Sunday, 
November 12. — Midland Evening News. 

'A very powerful piece of work. . . . The conception is magnificent, and is likely 
to win an abiding place within the memory of man. . . . The author has immense 
command of language, and a limitless audacity, . . . This interesting and re- 
markable romance will live long after much of the ephemeral literature of the day 
is forgotten. ... A literary phenomenon . . . novel, and even sublime.' — W. T. 
Stead in the Review 0/ Reviews. 

Anthony Hope. THE GOD IN THE CAR. By Anthony 
Hope, Author of ' A Change of Air, ' etc. Seventh Edition. Crown 
Svo. 6s. 

'A very remarkable book, deserving of critical analysis impossible within our limit ; 
brilliant, but not superficial ; well considered, but not elaborated ; constructed 
with the proverbial art that conceals, but yet allows itself to be enjoyed by readers 
to whom fine literary method is a keen pleasure ; true without cynicism, subtle 
without affectation, humorous without strain, witty without offence, inevitably 
sad, with an unmorose simplicity.'— 7Vie World. 

Anthony Hope. A CHANGE OF AIR. By Anthony Hope, 

Author of ' The Prisoner of Zenda,' etc. Third Edition, Crown 
Svo. 6s. 

*A graceful, vivacious comedy, true to human nature. The characters are traced 
with a masterly hand.' — Times. 

Anthony Hope. A MAN OF MARK. By Anthony Hope, 
Author of ' The Prisoner of Zenda,' ' The God in the Car,' etc. 
Third Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' Of all Mr. Hope's books, " A Man of Mark " is the one which best compares with 
" The Prisoner of Zenda." The two romances are unmistakably the work of the 
same writer, and he possesses a style of narrative peculiarly seductive, piquant, 
comprehensive, and — his own.' — National Observer. 


By Anthony Hope, Author of ' The Prisoner of Zenda,' • The God 

in the Car,' etc. 7 hird Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

'It is a perfectly enchanting story of love and chivalry, and pure romance. The 
outlawed Count is the most constant, desperate, and withal modest and tender of 
lovers, a peerless gentleman, an intrepid lighter, a very faithful friend, and a most 
magnanimous foe. In short, he is an altogether admirable, lovable, and delight- 
ful hero. There is not a word in the volume that can give offence to the most 
fastidious taste of man or woman, and there is not, either^ a dull paragraph in it. 
The book is everywhere instinct with the most exhilarating spirit of adventure, 
and delicately perfumed with the sentiment of all heroic and honourable deeds of 
history and romance.' — Guardian. 

24 Messrs. Methuen's List 

Conan Doyle. ROUND THE RED LAMP. By A. Conan 

Doyle, Author of 'The White Company,' 'The Adventures of 

Sherlock Holmes,' etc. Fourth Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' The book is, indeed, composed of leaves from life, and is far and away the best view 
that has been vouchsafed us behind the scenes of the consulting-room. It is very 
superior to " The Diary of a late Physician."' — Illustrated London News. 

Stanley Weyman. UNDER THE RED ROBE. By Stanley 
Weyman, Author of ' A Gentleman of France.' With Twelve Illus- 
trations by R. Caton Woodville. Eighth Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

'A book of which we have read every word for the sheer pleasure of reading, and 
which we put down with a pang that we cannot forget it all and start again.' — 
Westminster Gazette. 

' Every one who reads books at all must read this thrilling romance, from the first 
page of which to the last the breathless reader is haled along. An inspiration of 
'manliness and courage.' — Daily Chronicle. 

'A delightful tale of chivalry and adventure, vivid and dramatic, with a wholesome 
modesty and reverence for the highest.' — Globe. 

Mrs. Clifford. A FLASH OF SUMMER. By Mrs. W. K. 
Clifford, Author of ' Aunt Anne,' etc. Second Edition. Crown 
Svo. 6s. 

' The story is a very sad and a very beautiful one, exquisitely told, and enriched with 
many subtle touches of wise and tender insight. Mrs. Clifford's gentle heroine is 
a most lovable creature, contrasting very refreshingly with the heroine of latter- 
day fiction. The minor characters are vividly realised. " A Flash of Summer " 
is altogether an admirable piece of work, wrought with strength and simplicity. 
It will, undoubtedly, add to its author's reputation — already high — in the ranks 
of novelists.' — Speaker. 

' We must congratulate Mrs. Clifford upon a very successful and interesting story, 
told throughout with finish and a delicate sense of proportion, qualities which, 
indeed, have always distinguished the best work of this very able writer.' — 
Manchester Guardian. 

Emily Lawless. MAELCHO : a Sixteenth Century Romance. 
By the Hon. Emily Lawless, Author of 'Grania,' 'Hurrish,' etc. 
Second Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

4 A really great book.' — Spectator. 

'There is no keener pleasure in life than the recognition of genius. Good work is 
commoner than it used to be, but the best is as rare as ever. All the more 
gladly, therefore, do we welcome in " Maelcho " a piece of work of the first order, 
which we do not hesitate to describe as one of the most remarkable literary 
achievements of this generation. Miss Lawless is possessed of the very essence 
of historical genius.' — Manchester Guardian. 

E. F. Benson. DODO : A DETAIL OF THE DAY. By E. F. 

Benson. Sixteenth Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

• A delightfully witty sketch of society.' — Spectator. 
' \. perpetual feast of epigram and paradox.' — Speaker. 
' By a writer of quite exceptional ability.' — Atheweum. 
' Brilliantly written.' — World. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 25 

E./l^Benson. THE RUBICON. By E. F. Benson, Author of 
'TJodo.' Fifth Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' Well written, stimulating, unconventional, and, in a word, characteristic' — 

Birmingham Post. 
'An exceptional achievement; a notable advance on his previous work.'— National 


M. M. Dowie. GALLIA. By Menie Muriel Dowie, Author 
of A Girl in the Carpathians.' Third Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' The style is generally admirable, the dialogue not seldom brilliant, the situations 
surprising in their freshness and originality, while the subsidiary as well as the 
principal characters live and move, and the story itself is readable from title-page 
to colophon.' — Saturday Review. 

' A very notable book; a very sympathetically, at times delightfully written book.' 
— Daily Graphic. 


'To say that a book is by the author of " Mehalah" is to imply that it contains a 
story cast on strong lines, containing dramatic possibilities, vivid and sympathetic 
descriptions of Nature, and a wealth of ingenious imagery.' — Speaker. 
That whatever Mr. Baring Gould writes is well worth reading, is a conclusion that 
may be very generally accepted. His views of life are fresh and vigorous, his 
language pointed and characteristic, the incidents of which he makes use are 
striking and original, his characters are life-like, and though somewhat excep- 
tional people, are drawn and coloured with artistic force. Add to this that his 
descriptions of scenes and scenery are painted with the loving eyes and skilled 
hands of a master of his art, that he is always fresh and never dull, and under 
such conditions it is no wonder that readers have gained confidence both in his 
power of amusing and satisfying them, and that year by year his popularity 
widens.' — Court Circular. 

Baring Gould. URITH : A Story of Dartmoor. By S. Baring 
Gould. Third Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 
1 The author is at his best.' — Times. 
' He has nearly reached the high water-mark of " Mehalah." ' — National Observer. 

Baring Gould. IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA: A Tale of 
the Cornish Coast. By S. Baring Gould. Fifth Edition. 6s. 

'One of the best imagined and most enthralling stories the author has produced.' 
— Saturday Review. 

By S. Baring Gould. Fourth Edition. 6s. 

' A novel of vigorous humour and sustained power.' — Graphic. 
' The swing of the narrative is splendid.' — Sussex Daily News 

Baring Gould. CHEAP JACK ZITA. By S. Baring Gould. 

Third Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' A powerful drama of human passion.' — Westminster Gazette. 
'A story worthy the author.' — National Observer. 

26 Messrs. Methuen's List 

S. Baring Gould. THE QUEEN OF LOVE. By S. Baring 

Gould. Fourth Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' The scenery is admirable, and the dramatic incidents are most striking.'— Glasgow 

' Strong, interesting, and clever.'— Westminster Gazette. 
' You cannot put it down until you have finished it.' — Punch. 
' Can be heartily recommended to all who care for cleanly, energetic, and interesting 

fiction.' — Sussex Daily Neivs. 

S. Baring Gould. KITTY ALONE. By S. Baring Gould, 

Author of 'Mehalah,' 'Cheap Jack Zita,' etc. Fourth Edition. 

Crown Svo. 6s. 

'A strong and original story, teeming with graphic description, stirring incident, 

and, above all, with vivid and enthralling human interest.' — Daily Telegraph. 
' Brisk, clever, keen, healthy, humorous, and interesting.' — National Observer. 
' Full of quaint and delightful studies of character.'— Bristol Mercury. 

S. Baring Gould. NOEMI : A Romance of the Cave-Dwellers. 
By S. Baring Gould. Illustrated by R. Caton Woodville. 
Third Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' " Noemi " is as excellent a tale of fighting and adventure as one may wish to meet. 

All the characters that interfere in this exciting tale are marked with properties 

of their own. The narrative also runs clear and sharp as the Loire itself.'— 

Pall Mall Gazette. 
'Mr. Baring Gould's powerful story is full of the strong lights and shadows and 

vivid colouring to which he has accustomed us.'— Standard. 

Mrs. Oliphant. SIR ROBERT'S FORTUNE. By Mrs. 
Oliphant. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' Full of her own peculiar charm of style and simple, subtle character-painting comes 
her new gift, the delightful story before us. The scene mostly lies in the moors, 
and at the touch of the authoress a Scotch moor becomes a living thing, strong, 
tender, beautiful, and changeful. The book will take rank among the best of 
Mrs. Oliphant's good stories.'— Pall Mall Gazette. 

W. E. Norris. MATTHEW AUSTIN. By W.E. Norris, Author 

of ' Mademoiselle de Mersac,' etc. Fourth Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' "Matthew Austin" may safely be pronounced one of the most intellectually satis- 
factory and morally bracing novels of the current year.'— Daily Telegraph. 

W. E. Norris. HIS GRACE. By W. E. Norris, Author of 
'Mademoiselle de Mersac' Third Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

'Mr. Norris has drawn a really fine character in the Duke of Hurstbourne, at once 
unconventional and very true to the conventionalities of life, weak and strong in 
a breath, capable of inane follies and heroic decisions, yet not so definitely por- 
trayed as to relieve a reader of the necessity of study on his own behalf.'— 
A thenienm. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 27 

"By W. E. Norris, Author of 'Mademoiselle de Mersac' Croivn 
8vo. 6s. 

' A budget of good fiction of which no one will tire.'— Scotsman. 
1 An extremely entertaining volume— the sprightliest of holiday companions.'— 
Daily Telegraph. 

Gilbert Parker. PIERRE AND HIS PEOPLE. By Gilbert 

Parker. Third Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' Stories happily conceived and finely executed. There is strength and genius in Mr. 
Parker's style.' — Daily Telegraph. 

Gilbert Parker. MRS. FALCHION. By Gilbert Parker, 

Author of ' Pierre and His People.' Second Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' A splendid study of character.' — Athenaum. 

' But little behind anything that has been done by any writer of our time.' — Pall 

Mall Gazette. 
' A very striking and admirable novel.'— St. James's Gazette. 

Gilbert Parker. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

r ' The plot is original and one difficult to work out ; but Mr. Parker has done it with 
great skill and delicacy. The reader who is not interested in this original, fresh, 
and well-told tale must be a dull person indeed.' — Daily Chronicle. 
' A strong and successful piece of workmanship. The portrait of Lali, strong, 
dignified, and pure, is exceptionally well drawn.' — Manchester Guardian. 

Gilbert Parker. THE TRAIL OF THE SWORD. By Gilbert 
Parker. Third Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

'Everybody with a soul for romance will thoroughly enjoy "The Trail of the 
Sword." '—St. James's Gazette. 

' A rousing and dramatic tale. A book like this, in which swords flash, great sur- 
prises are undertaken, and daring deeds done, in which men and women live and 
love in the old straightforward passionate way, is a joy inexpressible to the re- 
viewer, brain-weary of the domestic tragedies and psychological puzzles of every- 
day fiction ; and we cannot but believe that to the reader it will bring refreshment 
as welcome- and as keen.'— Daily Chronicle. 

The Story of a Lost Napoleon. By Gilbert Parker. Third 
Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' Here we find romance— real, breathing, living romance, but it runs flush with our 
own times, level with our own feelings. Mot here can we complain of lack of 
inevitableness or homogeneity. The character of Valmond is drawn unerringly ; 
his career, brief as it is, is placed before us as convincingly as history itself. The 
book must be read, we may say re-read, for any one thoroughly to appreciate 
Mr. Parker's delicate touch and innate sympathy with humanity.'— Pall Mall 

'The one work of genius which 1895 has as yet produced.'— New Age. 

28 Messrs. Methuen's List 

The Last Adventures of 'Pretty Pierre.' By Gilbert Parker. 
Crown 8vo. 6s. 

'The present book is full of fine and moving stories of the great North, and it will 

( add to Mr. Parker's already high reputation.'— Glasgow Herald. 

The new book is very romantic and very entertaining— full of that peculiarly 

elegant spirit of adventure which is so characteristic of Mr. Parker, and of that 

poetic thrill which has given him warmer, if less numerous, admirers than even 

his romantic story-telling gift has done.'— Sketch. 

H. G. Wells. THE STOLEN BACILLUS, and other Stories. 
By H. G. Wells, Author of 'The Time Machine.' Crown 
8vo. 6s. 

' The ordinary reader of fiction may be glad to know that these stories are eminently 
readable from one cover to the other, but they are more than that ; they are the 
impressions of a very striking imagination, which it would seem, has a great deal 
within its reach.'— Saturday Review. 

Arthur Morrison. TALES OF MEAN STREETS. By Arthur 
Morrison. Third Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' Told with consummate art and extraordinary detail. He tells a plain, unvarnished 
tale, and the very truth of it makes for beauty. In the true humanity of the book 
lies its justification, the permanence of its interest, and its indubitable triumph.' — 
A thenceum. 

'A great book. The author's method is amazingly effective, and produces a thrilling 
sense of reality. The writer lays upon us a master hand. The book is simply 
appalling and irresistible in its interest. It is humorous also ; without humour 
it would not make the mark it is certain to make.' — World. 

J. Maclaren Cobban. THE KING OF ANDAMAN : A 
Saviour of Society. By J. Maclaren Cobban, Author of ' The 
Red Sultan,' etc. Second Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

' An unquestionably interesting book. It would not surprise us if it turns out to be 
the most interesting novel of the season, for it contains one character, at least, 
who has in him the root of immortality, and the book itself is ever exhaling the 
sweet savour of the unexpected. . . . Plot is forgotten and incident fades, and 
only the really human endures, and throughout this book there stands out in bold 
and beautiful relief its high-souled and chivalric protagonist, James the Master 
of Hutcheon, the King of Andaman himself.'— Pall Mall Gazette. 

'A most original and refreshing story. The supreme charm of the book lies in the 
genial humour with which the central character is conceived. James Hutcheon 
is a personage whom it is good to know and impossible to forget. He is beautiful 
within and without, whichever way we take him. '— Spectator. 
'"The King of Andaman" has transcended our rosiest expectations. If only for 
the brilliant portraits of 'the Maister,' and his false friend Fergus O'Rhea, the 
book deserves to be read and remembered. The sketches of the Chartist move- 
ment are wonderfully vivid and engrossing, while the whole episode of James 
Hutcheon's fantastic yet noble scheme is handled with wonderful spirit and 
sympathy. "The King of Andaman," in short, is a book which does credit not 
less to the heart than the head of its author.'— Athenizum. 

' The fact that Her Majesty the Queen has been pleased to gracefully express to the 
author of " The King of Andaman " her interest in his work will doubtless find 
for it many readers." — Vanity Fair. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 29 


Julian Corbett, Author of ' For God and Gold,' ' Kophetua 

XHIth.,' etc. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' In this stirring story Mr. Julian Corbett has done excellent work, welcome alike 
for its distinctly literary flavour, and for the wholesome tone which pervades it. 
Mr. Corbett writes with immense spirit, and the book is a thoroughly enjoyable 
one in all respects. The salt of the ocean is in it, and the right heroic ring re- 
sounds through its gallant adventures, in which pirates, smugglers, sailors, and 
refugees are mingled in picturesque confusion, with the din of battle and the soft 
strains of love harmoniously clashing an accompaniment. We trust that Mr. 
Corbett will soon give us another taste of his qualities in a novel as exciting, as 
dramatic, and as robustly human, as " A Business in Great Waters." ' — Speaker. 

C. Phillips Woolley. THE QUEENSBERRY CUP. A Tale 
of Adventure. By Clive Phillips Woolley, Author of ' Snap,' 
Editor of 'Big Game Shooting.' Illustrated. Crown Svo. 6s. 

This is a story of amateur pugilism and chivalrous adventure, written by an author 
whose books on sport are well known. 

' A book which will delight boys : a book which upholds the healthy schoolboy code 
of morality.' — Scotsman. 

A brilliant book. Dick St. Clair, of Caithness, is an almost ideal character— a com- 
bination of the mediaeval knight and the modern pugilist.' — Admiralty and Horse- 
guards Gazette. 

' If all heroes of boy's books were as truly heroic as Dick St. Clair, the winner of the 
Queensberry Cup, we should have nothing to complain of in literature specially 
written for boys.' — Educational Review. 

Robert Barr. IN THE MIDST OF ALARMS. By Robert 
Barr, Author of ' From Whose Bourne,' etc. Third Edition. 

Crown Svo. 6s. 
' A book which has abundantly satisfied us by its capital humour.'— Daily Chronicle. 
'Mr. Barr has achieved a triumph whereof he has every reason to be proud.' — Pall 

Mall Gazette. 

L. Daintrey. THE KING OF ALBERIA. A Romance of 
the Balkan?. By Laura Daintrey. Crown Svo. 6s. 

' Miss Daintrey seems to have an intimate acquaintance with the people and politics 
of the Balkan countries in which the scene of her lively and picturesque romance 
is laid. On almost every page we find clever touches of local colour which dif- 
ferentiate her book unmistakably from the ordinary novel of commerce. The 
story is briskly told, and well conceived.' — Glasgow Herald. 

Mrs. Pinsent. CHILDREN OF THIS WORLD. By Ellen 
F. Pinsent, Author of 'Jenny's Case.' Crown Svo. 6s. 
' Mrs. Pinsent's new novel has plenty of vigour, variety, and good writing. There 
are certainty of purpose, strength of touch, and clearness of vision.' — Athcnaum. 

Clark Russell, Author of ' The Wreck of the Grosvenor,' etc. 
Illustrated. Third Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

30 Messrs. Methuen's List 

G. Manviile Fenn. AN ELECTRIC SPARK. By G. Manville 
Fenn, Author of ' The Vicar's Wife,' ' A Double Knot,' etc. Second 
Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 
' A simple and wholesome story.' — Manchester Guardian. 

Pryce. TIME AND THE WOMAN. By Richard Pryce, 

Author of ' Miss Maxwell's Affections,' 'The Quiet Mrs. Fleming,' 

etc. Second Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

1 Mr. Pryce's work recalls the style of Octave Feuillet, by its clearness, conciseness, 
its literary reserve.' — Athena-urn. 

Mrs. Watson. THIS MAN'S DOMINION. By the Author 

of ' A High Little World. ' Second Edition. Crown Svo. 6s. 

Marriott Watson. DIOGENES OF LONDON and other 
Sketches. By II. B. Marriott Watson, Author of 'The Web 

of the Spider.' Crown Svo. Buckram. 6s. 
' By all those who delight in the uses of words, who rate the exercise of prose above 
the exercise of verse, who rejoice in all proofs of its delicacy and its strength, who 
believe that English prose is chief among the moulds of thought, by these 
Mr. Marriott Watson's book will be welcomed.' — National Observer. 

Gilchrist. THE STONE DRAGON. By Murray Gilchrist. 
Croxvn Svo. Buckram. 6s. 

1 The author's faults are atoned for by certain positive and admirable merits. The 
romances have not their counterpart in modern literature, and to read them is a 
unique experience.' — National Observer. 



Edna Lyall, Author of ' Donovan,' etc. Forty -first Thousand. 
Crown Svo. $s. 6d. 

Baring Gould. ARM I NELL : A Social Romance. By S. 
Baring Gould. New Edition. Crown Svo. 3s. 6d. 

Baring Gould. MARGERY OF QUETHER, and other Stories. 
By S. Baring Gould. Crown Svo. 3s. 6d. 

Baring Gould. JACQUETTA, and other Stories. By S. Baring 
Gould. Crozvn Svo. 3s. 6d. 

Miss Benson. SUBJECT TO VANITY. By Margaret 

Benson. With numerous Illustrations. Second Edition. Crown 
Svo. 3s. 6d. 

' A charming little book about household pets by a daughter of the Archbishop of 

Canterbury. '— Speaker. 
'A delightful collection of studies of animal nature. It is very seldom that we get 

anything so perfect in its kind. . . . The illustrations are clever, and the whole 

book a singularly delightful one.' — Guardian. 

0" Messrs. Methuen's List 31 

MaryGaunt. THE MOVING FINGER : Chapters from the 
Romance of Australian Life. By Mary Gaunt, Author of ' Dave's 
Sweetheart.' Croivn Svo. y. 6d. 

' Rich in local colour, and replete with vigorous character sketches. They strike us 

as true to the life.' — Times. 
' Unmistakably powerful. Tragedies in the bush and riot in the settlement are 

portrayed for us in vivid colour and vigorous outline.' — Westminster Gazette. 

Gray. ELSA. A Novel. By E. M 'Queen Gray. CrownSvo. 
35. 6d. 

J. H. Pearce. JACO TRELOAR. By J. H. Pearce, Author of 

' Esther Pentreath.' New Edition. Crown 8vo. y. 6d. 

The Spectator' speaks of Mr. Pearce as' awriter of exceptional power'; the 'Daily 
Telegraph' calls the book 'powerful and picturesque ' ; the ' Birmingham Post' 
asserts that it is 'a novel of high quality.' 

X. L. AUT DIABOLUS AUT NIHIL, and Other Stories. 
By X. L. Second Edition. Crown Svo. 35. 6d. 

' Distinctly original and in the highest degree imaginative. The conception is almost 
as lofty as Milton's.' — Spectator. 

' Original to a degree of originality that may be called primitive — a kind of passion- 
ate directness that absolutely absorbs us.' — Saturday Review. 

' Of powerful interest. There is something startlingly original in the treatment of the 
themes. The terrible realism leaves no doubt of the author's power.' — Atheneeum. 

O'Grady. THE COMING OF CUCULAIN. A Romance of 
the Heroic Age of Ireland. By Standish O'Grady, Author of 
' Finn and his Companions.' Illustrated. Crown Svo. 3s. 6d. 

' The suggestions of mystery, the rapid and exciting action, are superb poetic effects.' 

— Speaker. 
' For light and colour it resembles nothing so much as a Swiss dawn.' — Manchester 


By Constance Smith, Author of 'The Repentance of Paul Went- 
worth,' etc. New Edition. Crown Svo. 3s. 6d. 

Author of 'Vera.' THE DANCE OF THE HOURS. By 

the Author of ' Vera. 5 Crown Svo. 35. 6d. 

Esme Stuart. A WOMAN OF FORTY. By Esme Stuart, 
Author of 'Muriel's Marriage,' 'Virginia's Husband,' etc. New 
Edition. Croivn Svo. 3s. 6d. 
'The story is well written, and some of the scenes show great dramatic power.' — 
Daily Chronicle. 

Fenn. THE STAR GAZERS. By G. Manville Fenn, 
Author of ' Eli's Children,' etc. New Edition. Cr. Svo. 3s. 6d. 

'A stirring romance.' — Western Morning News. 

'Told with all the dramatic power for which Mr. Fenn is conspicuous.' — Bradford 

32 Messrs. Methuen's List 

Dickinson. A VICAR'S WIFE. By Evelyn Dickinson. 

Crown 8vo. 3^. 6d. 

Prowse. THE POISON OF ASPS. By R. Orton Prowse. 

Croiun 8vo. $s. 6d. 

R. Pryce. THE QUIET MRS. FLEMING. By R. Pryce. 

Crown S?'o. 3^. 6d. 

SON, Christian and Communist. By E. Lynn Linton. Eleventh 
Edition. Post 8vo. is. 


A Series of Novels by popular Authors. 


1. THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN. By F. Mabel Robinson. 

2. DISENCHANTMENT. By F. Mabel Robinson. 


4. HOVENDEN, V.C. By F. Mabel Robinson. 

5. ELI'S CHILDREN. By G. Manville Fenn. 

6. A DOUBLE KNOT. By G. Manville Fenn. 

7. DISARMED. By M. Betham Edwards. 

8. A LOST ILLUSION. By Leslie Keith. 

9. A MARRIAGE AT SEA. By W. Clark Russell. 

10. IN TENT AND BUNGALOW. By the Author of ' Indian 




13. A DEPLORABLE AFFAIR. By W. E. Norris. 


15. A CAVALIER'S LADYE. By Mrs. Dicker. 

16. JIM B. 

Books for Boys and Girls 

A Series of Books by zvell-known Authors, well illustrated. 
Crown 8vo. 


t. THE ICELANDER'S SWORD. By S. Baring Gould. 


E. Cuthell. 

3. TODDLEBEN'S HERO. By M. M. Blake. 

4. ONLY A GUARD-ROOM DOG. By Edith E. Cuthell. 

Messrs. Methuen's List 33 

5. 'THE* DOCTOR OF THE JULIET. By Harry Colling- 




7. SYD BELTON : Or, The Boy who would not go to Sea. 

By G. Manville Fenn. 


The Peacock Library 

A Series of Books for Girls by well-known Authors, 
handsomely bound in blue and silver, and well illustrated. 
Crown Sz'o. 

i. A PINCH OF EXPERIENCE. By L. B. Walford. 

2. THE RED GRANGE. By Mrs. Molesworth. 


Author of 'Mdle Mori.' 

4. DUMPS. By Mrs. Parr, Author of 'Adam and Eve.' 

5. OUT OF THE FASHION. By L. T. Meade. 

" 6. A GIRL OF THE PEOPLE. By L. T. Meade. 

7. HEPSY GIPSY. By L. T. Meade. 2s. 6d. 


9. MY LAND OF BEULAH. By Mrs. Leith Adams. 

University Extension Series 

A scries of books on historical, literary, and scientific subjects, suitable 
for extension students and home-reading circles. Each volume is com- 
plete in itself, and the subjects are treated by competent writers in a 
broad and philosophic spirit. 

Edited by J. E. SYMES, M.A., 

Principal of University College, Nottingham. 

Crown 8vo. Price {with some exceptions) is. 6d. 

The following volumes are ready : — 

B. GlBBlNS, M.A., late Scholar of Wadham College, Oxon., Cobden 
Prizeman. Fourth Edition. With Maps and Plans. 3^. 

'A compact and clear story of our industrial development. A study of this concise 
but luminous book cannot fail to give the reader a clear insight into the principal 
phenomena of our industrial history. The editor and publishers are to be congrat- 
ulated on this first volume of their venture, and we shall look with expectant 
interest for the succeeding volumes of the series.' — University Extension Journal 

34 Messrs. Methuen's List 

a history of english political economy. by 

L. L. Price, M.A., Fellow of Oriel College, Oxon. Second Edition. 

PROBLEMS OF POVERTY : An Inquiry into the Industrial 
Conditions of the Poor. By J. A. Hobson, M.A. Second Edition. 



PSYCHOLOGY. By F. S. Granger, M.A., Lecturer in Philo- 
sophy at University College, Nottingham. 

G. Massee, Kew Gardens. With Illustrations. 

AIR AND WATER. Professor V. B. LEWES, M.A. Illustrated. 

Kimmins, M.A. Camb. Illustrated. 




TEENTH CENTURY. By W. A. S. Hewins, B.A. 

THE CHEMISTRY OF FIRE. The Elementary Principles of 
Chemistry. By M. M. Pattison Muir, M.A. Illustrated. 

Potter, M.A., F.L.S. Illustrated. 35. 6d, 

THE VAULT OF HEAVEN. A Popular Introduction to 
Astronomy. By R. A. Gregory. With numerous Illustrations. 

METEOROLOGY. The Elements of Weather and Climate. 
By H. N. Dickson, F.R.S.E., F.R. Met. Soc. Illustrated. 

J. Burch, M.A. With numerous Illustrations. $s. 

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